AN/APS-154 Advanced Airborne Sensor
The Raytheon Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) is an externally mounted radar and a follow-on system to the currently deployed Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS). LSRS currently provides a broad range of capabilities against moving and stationary targets at sea and on land. Like LSRS, AAS is an integrated Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (ISR&T) asset, with the additional capability of Mast and Periscope Detection (MPD).
The P-8A Poseidon Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) design is based on the Boeing 737-800 aircraft with modifications to support Navy maritime patrol mission requirements to replace the P-3C Orion. The P-8A incorporates an integrated sensor suite that includes radar, electro-optical, and electronic signal detection sensors to provide search, detection, location, tracking, and targeting capability against surface targets. An integrated acoustic sonobuoy launch and monitoring system provides search, detection, location, tracking, and targeting capability against submarine targets. Sensor systems also provide tactical situational awareness information for dissemination to fleet forces and ISR information for exploitation by the joint intelligence community.
The APS-154 radar represents the next generation of maritime patrol and reconnaissance radars which will provide military commanders highly accurate battle-space situational awareness as an integrated Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (ISR&T) asset. AAS employment will increase the Combatant Commanders’ war fighting effectiveness by ensuring a situational awareness advantage, achieving information dominance throughout all campaign phases, and providing on-demand, actionable sensor data to support precision targeting against threats at sea and on land.
Tthe P-8A was based on the stretched airframe of the 737-800ER rather than the 737-700 precisely so that it could accommodate a canoe fairing for the AN/APS-154, which is claimed to be superior to the AN/APY-7 used on J-STARS, with the capability of detecting low-flying low RCS targets and of performing communications relay and EW duties.
On 31 July 2009 the U.S. Navy has awarded a multi-year contract authorizing Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) to begin development of the Advanced Airborne Sensor, the follow-on to the Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS). The AAS program will equip the P-8A Poseidon, the Navy's next patrol maritime aircraft. LSRS is currently operational on Navy P-3C Orions; the AAS will provide airborne radar surveillance with next-generation line-of-site capability.
Awareness and action are critical not only to today's mission, but the ever changing threats of tomorrow. "We will be ready with intelligent technology when the Poseidon takes its place as the Navy's ISR capability in the fleet," said Capt. Scott Anderson, LSRS and AAS program manager.As the sensor prime contractor, Raytheon will oversee the mission systems integration, consisting of the development, production and installation of the AAS on the Poseidon. Raytheon will work closely with its associate prime contractor, Boeing, for engineering, aircraft modifications, integration and flight test.
"This is a major leap in technology in support of our customer's missions," said Tim Carey, vice president for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems. "As the demand for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems increases, we are proud to provide our customers with ISR capabilities that are recognized around the world."
By maximizing the incorporation of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) technologies, the AAS will be highly supportable, maintainable, scalable and upgradeable, reducing unit production and life cycle costs. Raytheon also provides continuing mission support of Navy operations, logistics and sustaining engineering of LSRS through a previously awarded multi-year performance-based contract.
The Special Mission Pod Deployment Mechanism (SMPDM) is a hydraulically activated mechanism that provides the mission capability to extend and retract the P-8 AAS Special Mission Pod in order to obtain a Field of View (FOV) unobstructed by aircraft engines. The SMPDM lowers the Pod in flight to obtain an expanded FOV necessary for radar operational capability. At the completion of the mission, the SMPDM retracts the Pod to its stowed position of up and locked. The Forward Deployment Mechanism (FDM) is a linkage type system comprised of springs, hydraulic actuator. It is installed within the P-8 EO/IR FWD Pressure Box on the underside of the fuselage using fittings permanently mounted to the aircraft. The FDM supports the forward section of the Pod during flight and while on the ground. It also provides motion control and stability during Pod translation. When the Pod is in the stowed or deployed position, the FDM furnishes primary locking for the forward section of the Pod utilizing a jury strut and spring configuration.
Testing of AAS on the P-8 began in 2014. The first flight of the Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) configured P-8A Poseidon aircraft was completed on 20 May 2015. The successful flight marked a significant milestone for the U.S. Navy, Raytheon and Boeing team. The Navy continued integration and testing of the first Advanced Airborne Sensor aboard the P-8A Poseidon. Testing would confirm the ability of the P-8A and AAS to operate safely and efficiently. Successful testing of AAS on the P-8A is a significant milestone enabling production decisions and leading up to the initial deployment of AAS.
The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) Contracts Department, Orlando, FL announced 14 January 2020 its intention to design, develop, integrate and procure technical trainers for Squadron Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) maintenance training for the P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Training systems shall be used to train aircraft maintainers in the skills necessary to reconfigure and install the new sensor on the aircraft, and to maintain the deployment mechanism at the organizational maintenance level. AAS Maintenance training will be conducted using Hardware Part Task Trainers (PTT) on two separate sets of training devices located at NAS Jacksonville and NAS Whidbey Island.
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By 2018, despite significant efforts to improve P-8A intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors, overall P-8A ISR mission capabilities remained limited by sensor performance shortfalls. Incremental future upgrades include the addition of the AAS radar. The Navy planned to conduct operational test events for the AAS in the FY19 through FY20 timeframe. Upon completion of the P-8A ECP 2 OT&E period, DOT&E issued a P-8A ECP 2 FOT&E Report in August 2018 and removed the P-8A aircraft from formal operational test oversight. DOT&E continued to oversee major P-8A capability upgrades through operational test oversight for the separate AAS sensor upgrade program.
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