Third, the ASTE program office has initiated a risk reduction program that is funding test equipment improvements, IR data collection and threat model development.
Though not a joint program, ASTE and the Navy's Advanced Tactical Expendables and Dispenser Systems (ATEDS) program have joined in cooperative ventures in the areas of data sharing and in-house flare development.
The Naval Weapons Support Center, Crane Division (NWSCC), Crane, IN, the Navy's flare development center, is pursuing several designs for advanced flares under ASTE funding.
In fact, the Navy is in the process of submitting a memorandum of understanding to join the ASTE program.
The ASTE program has recently awarded contracts to Alloy Surfaces, Tracor Aerospace, Thiokol, Lockheed Sanders and Loral Electro-Optical Systems to prototype their flare concepts for testing.
In light of this environment, Congress cancelled the Navy's own IR R&D ($1 million) and electro-optic R&D ($1.4 million) programs, then directed the Navy to participate in both the ASTE program and in a co-development program for optical countermeasures under the leadership of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).