By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
October 14, 2011
Recently, DefenseReview (DR) reported on the Northrop Grumman Guardian and AN/AAQ-24(V) Directional Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) laser systems designed to kill heat-seaking missiles (thermal/IR signature-intercepting missiles). Well, Northrop Grumman also has a "5th-generation IRCM (Infrared Countermeasure) technology for unparalleled warfighter protection called" Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM), which is comprised of an ECLIPSE Pointer/Tracker and Solaris Laser.
And Northrop Grumman isn't the sole CIRCM system developer. ITT Electrronic Warfare Systems has their own "mature" CIRCM solution for combat rotorcraft and fixed-wing aircraft, which they just debuted at AUSA 2011. A little over a week ago, one of their PR reps sent us a message via email that he'd seen the piece I wrote about counter-MANPAD laser defense systems for aircraft, and that ITT was going going to show its Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) unit at said show. This lightweight helicopter defense system weighs less than 85 lbs, is now integrated with a cutting-edge quantum cascade laser, and is ready for production. The system is unique is that it goes beyond just a standard counter-MANPADS system (i.e., confusing and defeating incoming heat-seeking missiles). The ITT CIRCM unit can actually disrupt smalls arms and RPG fire, which is at present a unique capability in the world of IR countermeasures.
The CIRCM program is at least a $1.5 billion program, and will place missile defense systems on 4,000 small and medium-sized Army helicopters. Down-select is currently scheduled for the end of 2011.
Officials from both ITT and Daylight Solutions, billed as the "industry leader" in quantum cascade lasers leveraged for airborne applications, held a press event at AUSA on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 11.
Defense Review has requested some ITT CIRCM info/data and images/photos for a follow-up piece.
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