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Avenger Sensors

The Avenger weapons system has an unobstructed, 360 field of fire and can engage at elevations between -10 and +70. The modular design of Avenger allows complementary missiles and/or rockets to be installed on the launch arms in addition to (or in place of) Stinger missiles. The gunner has sufficient visibility out of the turret for visual target acquisition, tracking, and engagement. A combination glass sight is used through which the gunner looks to aim the missiles and on which a driven reticle display is projected. The driven reticle indicates the aiming point of the missile seeker to confirm to the gunner that the missile seeker is locked onto the desired target.

Avenger's sensor package includes a forward-looking, infrared (FLIR), carbon dioxide, eye-safe laser range finder and a video autotracker. These sensors provide Avenger with a target acquisition capability in battlefield obscuration at night and in adverse weather. Range data from the laser range finder is processed by the Avenger fire control system to provide a fire permit for missile and gun use. A driven reticle and other data are displayed on the forward-looking infrared display in the same manner as the optical sight. Avenger is equipped with two VHF-FM frequency-hopping radios (i.e., SINCGARS) and an integrated remote terminal unit. When this capability is tied into the Marine air command and control system, Avenger can be configured to automatically slew to a target that appears on the radar display. This capability is known as "slew to cue." Targets pointed out by ground-based air defense units, tactical air operations center operators, or the LAAD section leader can be accepted or rejected by the gunner. Until the gunner responds to the cue, the gunner maintains complete control of the Avenger turret. If the gunner accepts a pointer, the turret automatically slews to the azimuth of the target. The gunner then resumes control of the turret and completes the engagement process by acquiring, tracking, and engaging the target. "Slew to cue" is a capability inherent to any radar picture.

Using Slew-To-Cue (STC), the Avenger would be able to accept digital early warning data and automatically slew the turret in both azimuth and elevation, centering the target in the gunner's field of view. Targeting data is provided by Forward Area Air Defense (FAAD) Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (C3I). The FAAD C3I equipment provides early warning/alerting, a complete air picture, slew-to-cue and target IFF information. This improvement not only improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the Avenger, but also allows it to kill the broadening spectrum of 21st century threats, including CMs and UAVs.

The Forward Looking Infrared Receiver (FLIR) provides enhanced acquisition capability in various environments: night, smoke, rain, background clutter, and haze. Once the gunner has detected and acquired the target with the FLIR, he may choose to manually track the target using the hand station, or select FLIR auto-track by pressing and releasing the right thumb switch on the hand station. The two auto-tracking functions on Avenger are FLIR and missile. In missile auto-track, the missile seeker will lock onto the target and the turret will follow the target in azimuth and elevation, providing the Operate Mode Track switchlight is set to Auto. In FLIR auto-track, the target must be inside the FLIR track box before pressing and releasing the right thumb switch on the hand station.

To conduct a heads-up engagement using the optical sight, the gunner looks at the sight symbology that is being super-imposed onto the combining glass and out through the canopy. This is the same symbology that appears on the FLIR monitor, but without the auto-track reticule and NFOV fixed reticule.

The Avenger Identification Friend or Foe [IFF] subsystem is activated by the gunner. It permits the gunner to identify aerial platforms equipped with Mode 3 or Mode 4 programmed transponders as friend, possible friend, or unknown. In normal operation the system provides a coded interrogation signal for transmission from the FU to the unidentified aerial platform. A reply is automatically generated and transmitted by a friendly aerial platform. Based on the IFF response and visual identification, the gunner either continues the engagement sequence or goes back to search/scan.

Range data from the laser range finder is processed by the on-board computer and is displayed to the gunner on the Control Display Terminal in meters. The computer uses this range data to determine fire permit and lead angle information for missile and gun use. A fire permit symbol is not required to launch a missile, however it is required to fire the machine gun in the Air or Ground (Auto) mode.

In the early 1990s the Avenger Project Office accepted 325 deficient Avenger systems without requiring the prime contractor to subsequently correct critical Forward-Looking Infra-Red system operational performance deficiencies or to provide for an equitable contract cost reduction or other consideration for the Government waiving the Forward Looking Infra-Red system performance requirement. As a result, the uncorrected Forward-Looking Infra-Red system would operate ineffectively when a radiation source is used nearby. The Forward-Looking Infra-Red system's target acquisition screen would be cluttered with interference. Therefore, the operating crews have difficulty identifying an actual target, making the system less effective.

Numerous radiation sources are on the typical battlefield. They include high power electrical lines, enemy jamming and friendly communications, radar, and other electrical equipment. The radiation will clutter the forward-looking infrared system's target acquisition screen with interference. The operating crews will have difficulty identifying an actual target.

Boeing has expanded Avenger capabilities by developing derivatives that provide adaptive force protection solutions. Boeing has developed an open architecture based on a universal weapons interface concept that enables integration of a variety of weapons (missiles, rockets, guns, future weapons) providing multi-mission capability on a single platform. This concept allows for rapid conversion, a robust weapons mix that compliments other weapon systems, and provides the flexibility to match the weapon with the threat.

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