Helicopters play an important role in air-to-ground fire covering and the short-distance air-to-air fights, as well as the anti-tank missions and battlefield force transferring. The detection and survivability of helicopters on a battlefield significantly depends on their infrared emissions level, as well as the methods, equipment and systems used by potential enemy. The automatic detection systems, recognition and identification of flying objects use among other the thermo-detection methods, which rely on detecting the infrared radiation emitted by the tracked object. Furthermore, due to low-altitude and relatively low flight speed, today’s combat assets like missile weapons equipped with infrared guidance systems are one of the most important threats to the helicopters performing combat missions. Especially meaningful in a helicopter aviation is infrared emission by exhaust gases, egressed to the surroundings. Due to high temperature, exhaust gases are a major factor in detectability of a helicopter performing air combat operations. In order to increase the combat effectiveness and survivability of military helicopters, several different types of the infrared suppressor (IRS) have been developed. This paper reviews contemporary developments in this discipline, with particular examples of the infrared signature suppression systems.
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