9 May 2018
The US Air Force (USAF) has issued a revised draft request for proposals (RFP) for aircrew protection against lasers, following the recent attacks on aircraft flying over the Horn of Africa.
Issued in early May, the revised draft RFP builds on a previously issued solicitation for an aircrew laser eye protection (ALEP) Block 3 multi-year award contract, and comes as the US Department of Defense (DoD) attests that Chinese nationals used lasers to attack US aircraft flying in the vicinity of Djibouti.
The current provider of the USAF’s laser protection is Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, which was awarded a USD30 million contract in July 2016 for its ALEP Block 2 solution. While the ALEP Block 2 is a spectacle-based solution, the Block 3 version will be either spectacle- or visor-based depending on the mission being flown and the degree of protection that is needed. As noted in the draft RFP, the ALEP Block 3 will provide full day and night protection, and will be compatible with all USAF aircraft, helmets, and cockpit displays and lighting.
The USAF is currently seeking more than 38,000 ALEP Block 3 items spread across eight different variants. These comprise Day Variant Ballistic Spectacles; Night Variant Ballistic Spectacles; Day Variant Basic Spectacles; Night Variant Basic Spectacles; Day Variant HGU-55/P Visor; Night Variant HGU-55/P Visor; Day Variant Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS); and Day Variant Joint Service Aircrew Mask for Strategic Aircraft (JSAM SA).