An attack copter shows off new antimissile ware
When Major Wandent Brawdsen of the Royal Netherlands Air Force rolled his Apache Longbow helicopter and fired a string of flares during last year's Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford England, it wasn´t just an air-show stunt. He was demonstrating the first and only Apache infrared missile-defense system. The new technology is sorely needed: When an attack chopper drops down to take out a target, it becomes an easy mark for shoulder-fired missiles such as those that were thought to have been the cause of two U.S. Apache pilot´s deaths in Iraq earlier this year. The ultraviolet sensors mounted beneath the aircrafts's wingtips detect and track missile exhaust and then fire off infrared flares to confuse the projectiles´ guidance systems.