Inter-Coastal Electronics

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TASS-V Demo with US Army and National Guard

November 2023: Inter-Coastal Electronics (ICE), with outstanding involvement and support of the 1-151st Attack Battalion and the South Carolina Army National Guard, conducted the first ever virtual threat integrated air defense system (VT-IADS) demonstration using the evolutionary TASS-V (Training ASE Stimulation Suite-Virtual) on two AH-64E(v)6 helicopters.

TASS-V evolved from the currently fielded TASS for the US Army which relies on physical ground threat emitters to stimulate aircraft audio, aural and visual signals. The virtual improvement allows threats to be placed anytime, anywhere via SMOTAR (an AAR tool developed by ICE) and graphic ‘click and drop’ Virtual GTE Remote Config Utility (VGRCU); both run on commercially available computers. The aircraft components are identical to those installed at US Army Combat Training Centers. A newly designed ground radio transmits the virtual threats to the helicopters.

The demonstration involved two 1-151st AB AH-64E(v)6 helicopters. SC Army National Guard avionics technicians conducted the aircraft TASS installations in under three hours. Ground and flight tests verified proper functionality of all emulated Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE) such as Infrared, radio frequency (IR/RF), Laser, and small arms type threats per the US Army ASE B-kit emulator (ABE) with the Common Threat Database (CTDB). Flight crews selected the training area and routes and coordinated the selection of the virtual threat types and locations with ICE operators. Virtual threats were entered by clicking on a SMOTAR map (looks like Google Earth maps) and right clicking to ‘drop’ the virtual threat at that location. The VGRCU allows the threat type to be created, changed, moved, and deleted.

The crews and ICE briefed a larger audience including National Guard Bureau and other State representatives on the route and expectations when encountering the virtual threats. The aircraft transmitted one AH-64E Multi-Purpose Display (MPD) during the exercise via OSRVT (One System Remote Video Terminal) so the observers could see the threat engagements in real time. The aircraft systems displayed and responded as it does to real world threats. The pilots saw no difference between these virtual threats and real threats that would be displayed in a combat environment.

The demonstration met all 1-151st AB and ICE demonstration objectives. The TASS-V system uses currently deployed TASS components supported by an active Airworthiness Release (AWR). TASS-V enables anytime, anywhere placement of threats (including off post/training center).