Wire strike protection system

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A Bell 206 shows cutters above and below cockpit section of WSPS.

The wire strike protection system (WSPS) is a mechanical wire cutter designed to mitigate the risk of wire strikes while flying helicopters at low-level, particularly military helicopters and those civilian helicopters involved in agricultural work.

The system is mounted around the front of many American military helicopters,[1][not in citation given] and some civilian helicopters.

All small to medium [a] United States Army helicopters were fitted with WSPS in a retrofit programme that was completed in 1992.[2] Between 1996 and 2002 the US Army had no fatal wire strike accidents.[2]


A AH-1S showing the cutters above and behind the cockpit and below the fuselage. It also has an additional cutter below the front gun turret.

A typical WSPS installation had a roof-mounted cutter and one fitted to the fuselage[b], a deflector is fitted to the middle of the windshield to guide the cable into the cutters.[2] Sometime a windshield wiper protector frames is used to stop the cables from catching on wiper motor shafts.[3][unreliable source?]

The system is effective when the helicopter strikes the wires at angle of less than 90 degress and at speeds more than 30 knots (35 mph; 56 km/h).[2] The system is designed to cut a 38-inch (9.5 mm) steel cable with a breaking strength of 12,000 pounds (5,400 kg).[2]


  1. ^ OH-58, UH-1, OH-6, AH-1, UH-60 and AH-64
  2. ^ multiple fuselage cutters can be used


See also[edit]

External links[edit]