Helicopter protection is happening. A research project from University of Michigan, in cooperation with the US Army and with its research branch, the ever present DARPA, is developing a system which could be used on helicopters, to protect them from missiles shot from the ground or from the air.
Anti Missile Defense System for Helicopter Protection
This anti missile defense system for helicopter protection is not an active one, as it does not hit incoming missiles, but rather a passive one, which would jam their pointing heat-searching sensors, rendering them unable to trace their target and strike.
This result is achieved thanks to a laser system which, as soon as it detects a missile within its range, would shoot against it not a bomb, but a flood of mid-intensity infrared rays on a wide range of frequencies. Since infrared light is not visible, the missile sensors would recognize it as heat instead of light, and thanks to this the sensor would lose touch with its actual target.
These laser beams can defend the helicopter on which they are mounted up to a distance of just below 3 kilometers. The advantage with this defense is that it is made up of simple off-the-shelf optical fiber parts, normally used in telephone industry, and that it consists of a few pieces in order to minimize the effect of vibrations caused by the chopper.
In fact, other similar systems are made up of several little pieces, and the shaking they go through when mounted on an helicopter would create problems of stability and, consequently, of precision. In short, a limited cost and a simple design are keys to security on board of helicopters in war zones.
A second generation prototype of the model designed in Michigan will soon be manufactured via Omni Sciences, a spinoff company connected to the University.