The largest threat to helicopters and fixed wing military transport aircraft is the Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS), also commonly referred to as the shoulder launched surface-to-air missile (SAM). The majority of these systems use infra-red guidance to detect and intercept an aircraft. IR MANPADS are relatively inexpensive, widely used, portable, and difficult to detect. Since the threat cannot be eliminated, the most effective countermeasure is to equip aircraft with self-protection.
Three types of self-protection measures can be employed: IR signature suppression; jamming; and decoys. These countermeasures are typically used in combination to provide the highest level of protection. IR suppression has a dual benefit: it reduces the range at which the IR missile can detect and lock-on to the aircraft; and it improves the effectiveness of jammers and flares by increasing the jammer-to-aircraft signal ratio (J/S).
Davis is a specialist in the design and fabrication of engine exhaust IR suppressors for aircraft.