A Modular Reconnaissance Pod System (MRPS) equipped with an advanced RECCE suite, certified for the JAS 39 C/D fighter aircraft, and compatible with various other aircraft.
Modern day multirole combat aircraft undertake the tactical reconnaissance (RECCE) role using a podded reconnaissance solution that can be shared amongst the aircraft type it is designed for.
In that context, Terma has developed the Modular Reconnaissance Pod System (MRPS) in cooperation with Saab, equipped with an advanced RECCE suite, certified for the JAS 39 C/D fighter aircraft, and compatible with various other aircraft. The MRPS is conceptually based on the Terma F-16 Modular Reconnaissance Pod (MRP).
Terma is responsible for design, development, and delivery of the MRPS mechanics, MRPS management and control units, Environmental Control System (ECS), Rotating Window Module (RWM), and integration of the MRPS Line Replaceable Units (LRU).
Saab is responsible for the electro optical/infra red sensor handling, recording of RECCE data. and integration in the aircraft and Ground Station.
Gripen (image courtesy: Saab)
The MRPS is designed and certified by Saab for the JAS 39 C/D, MS18/MS20 fighter aircraft and operational by the Swedish Air Force (SwAF).
The MRPS provides a maximum of flexibility in tailoring the sensor suite to operational requirements for airborne tactical reconnaissance. It is easily integrated into the aircraft avionics, and the pod is designed for autonomous operation with the integrated Environmental Control System (ECS).
The reconnaissance payload can include a sensor or a combination of sensors and is housed in three main compartments and a rotating window section. The rotating window mid-section can accommodate advanced sensors, suitable for missions at any altitude.
The Reconnaissance Management System in conjunction with the ECS, both delivered by Terma, ensure a stable temperature and humidity within the pod structure and allows reconnaissance missions to be flown at low, medium, or high altitudes any place in the world.
Close up of SPK39
Besides the pod structure, the MRPS consists of three major components delivered by Terma, namely the Reconnaissance Management System (RMS), the Environmental Control System (ECS), and the Rotating Window Module (RWM), each with different roles and functions to perform an aerial tactical reconnaissance mission.
Reconnaissance Management System:
- The MRPS is controlled by the pilot via the RMS that consists of a modular software architecture which makes it easy to integrate new sensors or Line Replaceable Units (LRU) with the existing system
- The RMS ensures intelligent power control of LRUs via a Smart Power Distribution Unit (SPDU). This is necessary due to the limited power available on the JAS 39 C/D centerline station, but on the other hand, it allows carriage of more power consuming sensor systems within the MRPS structure
- Further, it offers built-in-test functionality integrated with cockpit master caution panel and displays.
Environmental Control System:
- The main ECS unit is a Ram Air Turbine Environmental Control Unit (ECU) with high performance in the air and with a low power consumption
- The ECS is controlled by the RMS and follows a pre-programmed temperature profile and allows missions to be performed in harsh environments
- The ECS circulates conditioned air within the MRPS and prevents misting on transparent surfaces and development of condensation.
Rotating Window Module:
- The RWM is controlled autonomously from the RMS during RECCE missions, and its design allows different sensor suites to be fitted
- The RWM is equipped with a 360º rotating profile allowing horizon-to-horizon coverage and is in a stowed position during take-off and landing to protect the glass surface
- The RWM is slaved to the sensor when approaching a target and follows the sensor during its imaging profile with a high angular velocity
- The RWM is designed to operate anywhere in the world with the ability to rotate at temperature extremes during RECCE missions.
Close up of SPK39