ITT to make threat warning systems

The Special Operations Command awarded a $12.5 million contract to ITT Industries this week for 49 threat warning systems for its rotary aircraft.

The Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasures provides Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopters with threat warning, command and control, and self-protection capabilities. The suite also operates on Socom's MH-47E Chinook transport and MH-60K Black Hawk utility helicopters, according to the 2001 International Electronic Countermeasures Handbook.

Socom, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., awarded the contract to ITT Industries' Clifton, N.J.-based Avionics Division as an unusal and compelling urgency, according to a Defense Department contracts statement.

Two UH-60 Army Black Hawk choppers collided Nov. 15 in Mosul, Iraq, killing 17 soldiers and wounding five. The week before the crash, acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee issued a memo to service leaders on the need for more self-protection systems on helicopters.

"I want to see, as soon as possible, a plan to equip all our helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan with the most effective defensive systems we have in development or procurement," Brownlee wrote in the Nov. 6 memo. "Affordability is not the restraint for such a plan — only what is doable technology, production, acquisition and application."

He handwrote at the bottom of the memo, "Like other force-protection measures, this is urgent!"

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