This pamphlet identifies the current and near term aircraft survivability equipment (ASE) electronic countermeasures and avionics systems managed by the Project Manager's Office (PMO) for Aviation Electronic Combat (AEC). The growing importance of electronic countermeasures, communications, navigation, command and control, and aircraft design has become paramount in the minds of the Army Aviation Community. The lethality of threat weapons systems found on the battlefield dictates that survivability be an essential characteristic of all combat materiel.


The ASE PMO was established in June 1971 at the U.S. Army Aviation Systems Command (AVSCOM), St. Louis, Missouri. The ASE Project Manager (PM) reported directly to the Commanding General, AVSCOM. In 1987, the ASE PM was assigned to and reports directly to the Program Executive Officer for Aviation (PEO, AV).

The Aviation Electronics Management Office (AEMO) was established in October 1987 to fulfill the need for a centralized office to manage the Army's avionics equipment. The AEMO was formed in St. Louis as part of AVSCOM. In November 1991, the Avionics PMO was established to provide a higher level of management for Army avionics.

The AEC PMO was established in March 1992 with the merger of the ASE PMO and the Avionics PMO. The AEC PMO moved to Redstone Arsenal in August 1997 with PEO, AV and U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM).


The PEO, AV provides the Army and other customers with technologically superior, affordable aviation, and combat support systems that are capable, safe, survivable and sustainable. The PEO, AV primarily supports the Continental United States based force, special operations, contingency and forward presence missions.


The AEC PM is responsible for the development, acquisition and life-cycle management of both ASE and Avionics for Army aviation. It is the mission of the AEC PM to constantly advance the AEC state-of-the-art; keep the U.S. Army technically ahead of the rest of the world; provide protection and increased combat effectiveness; and provide the latest avionics for both fielded and developmental Army rotary and fixed wing aircraft. Other AEC programs will be designed to be responsive to emerging aviation threats as well as changing equipment requirements.

The AEC PM seeks opportunities to expand partner associations with other services within the Department of Defense (DoD), allied nations and commercial entities whenever a cooperative involvement attests that the interests of Army aviation are better served by such joint efforts.

Encouraging the practical participation of partners inside and outside DoD for mutual developments and procurements will not only reduce programmatic risks, but may also augment the funding base for high cost ventures. The AEC PM is the Army's principal member on the Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Aircraft Survivability and Avionics, and is responsible for ensuring that the tri-service ASE and avionics technology base is considered in the execution of Army programs.

In accordance with a directive from the Chief of Staff of the Army, PM AEC has developed and finalized specific funding requirements for nine core AEC programs. These programs are:

1. The Doppler Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) (AN/ASN-128B and AN/ASN-128C)

2. High Frequency Nap-of-the-Earth Communications (AN/ARC-220)

3. Advanced Avionics Technology Insertion (AATI) Program

4. Improved Data Modem (IDM)

5. Army Aviation Command and Control System (A2C2S)

6. Aviation Mission Planning System (AMPS)

7. Suite of Integrated Radio Frequency Countermeasures (AN/ALQ-211)

8. Aircraft Survivability Equipment Trainer (ASET IV)

9. Laser Detecting Set (AN/AVR-2A)


The survival of an aircraft operating in a hostile environment depends upon many diverse factors such as: The design of the aircraft; skill and experience of the crew; armament carried; on-board countermeasures and communications equipment; off-board supporting systems; and tactics employed. The cost of modern aircraft weapon systems, coupled with the requirement that the system be effective, makes it imperative to consider the aircraft's survivability throughout the life cycle of the system.

Survivability is a state of mind which musters together every ounce of cunning and resourcefulness possible. These attributes have been used throughout history with varying degrees of effectiveness. There was a time when the weapons' threat had a large degree of human error involved in its accuracy, and it could, therefore, be defeated with primitive countermeasures. However, the aviator today operates in a highly lethal environment of extremely mobile combined air and ground threats. The aviator must be provided with the latest countermeasures, communications and survival techniques available, not only to survive, but to stay and fight. The cunning and resourcefulness have not gone by the wayside, but have simply taken on new dimensions which involve greater man/machine interfaces.

It is the staying power that the PM AEC focuses on to provide the aviator and the Army "increased combat effectiveness." AEC will not only reduce attrition, but it will aid the aircrew in the accomplishment of their primary mission. Each mission will frequently involve a variety of aircraft

operating as a team against a variety of threats. The effectiveness of this integrated team will depend to a large extent on compatible and complementary ASE and avionics suites for each aircraft type. Currently, a significant thrust in the deployment of ASE and avionics equipment is to round out the ASE and avionics suites for all aircraft types in priority units.

Today’s Army seeks to field future systems which take advantage of recent and continuing technology advancements in the digital exchange of information. This concept, called Army Digitization, supports the conduct of "information warfare." In essence, Army Digitization will provide friendly commanders and their subordinate forces a common and relevant view of the battlefield situation, thereby promoting rapid and effective decision making as well as synchronization of battlefield activities.

Army aviation is a leader in digitization. As the materiel developer for a wide variety of digital ASE and avionics equipment, PM AEC plays a major role in the digitization of future aviation platforms. By providing common digital communications, processing and display technologies to multiple aviation programs, PM AEC supports aviation intraoperability and the fielding of a common technical architecture and improved logistics support. Ultimately, this translates to significantly improved battlefield capabilities and increased survivability for the aircrews.

The Army capitalizes on new aircraft production, production conversion programs and cyclic overhauls to provision the aircraft to receive the latest ASE and communications equipment. These offer the most cost effective approaches for the incorporation of ASE and avionics equipment, and they have the least impact on the operational readiness of the aviation units. However, time is our worst enemy. Our attack and assault aircraft fleets in the field today face a "smart" threat which can detect, track and destroy through a series of automated events. Neither time nor funding is available to repeatedly bring these aircraft back to depot level facilities to install ASE and avionics provisions. In those situations where field retrofit of aircraft is required in order to provide survivability protection in a timely manner, the retrofit is made using U.S. Army Materiel Command contractor teams to lessen the impact on organic forces. Although the field retrofit strategy is a bitter pill to swallow for the units, its trade-off in personnel and materiel resource savings, in the event of hostilities, makes the retrofit effort a small price to pay.

Although the ASE and avionics techniques and technologies must be properly safeguarded, training can not be neglected. ASE and avionics equipment must be part of a regular and sustained training program so that its operation during employment becomes second nature to the aircrew, and its maintenance becomes routine to the ground crews. Experience has taught the Army an important lesson of planning today for tomorrow. On a list of priorities for day-to-day operations, ASE and avionics equipment may not rank high in priority due to the remoteness of hostilities. However, without the constant exercise of the man/machine interface which turns the deliberate and studied moves into reflexes, the Army aviator has little hope on the battlefield of tomorrow.

ASE and avionics equipment give us the definite edge on the battlefield over the threat systems. However, the effectiveness of this edge is due, in large measure, to the classified nature of the equipment. Specific information relating to ASE and avionics techniques and technologies employed by these systems is strictly limited. ASE and avionics equipment must be safeguarded to a degree sufficient to preclude any reasonable chance of theft, compromise, sabotage, tampering or access by unauthorized personnel. Foreign nationals will not have access to ASE or avionics equipment.

Back to the Table of Contents