Infrared (IR) guidance systems help manned and unmanned threats find targets, but they also can be tracked using effective electronic-countermeasures (ECM) systems. The Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) system developed by Northrop Grumman Corp. has undergone the extensive in-field testing needed to achieve initial operational capability (IOC) for many of the U.S. Army’s rotary wing aircraft.
As shown by the testing and in-field use, the CIRCM system has met the IOC requirements for UH-60M utility helicopters, HH-60M MEDEVA Black Hawk helicopters, CH-47F Chinook medium-capacity helicopters, and AH-64E Apache unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
By the IOC, the U.S. Army has demonstrated the ability to field, use, and maintain the CIRCM systems in large quantities on its rotary-wing vehicles, having installed the systems (see image above) on more than 1,500 aircraft.
Bob Gough, vice president, navigation, targeting, and survivability for Northrop Grumman Corp., noted, “CIRCM’s ability to track and rapidly defeat infrared-guided threats has been validated over thousands of hours of rigorous testing in laboratory, flight, and live-fire test environments.” He added, “Achieving IOC was made possible by the entire team’s dedication and our strong partnership with the Army. Together we’ll provide U.S. Army aircrews with CIRCM’s unmatched threat protection.”
The CIRCM system, which features reduced size and weight to practical installation on existing compact rotary-wing aircraft, is a logical candidate solution for future attack reconnaissance aircraft (FARA) and future long-range assault aircraft (FLRAA) platforms. The laser-based open-systems approach of the CIRCM system works with existing hardware subsystems and simplifies software upgrades, making it a flexible choice for providing IR tracking capability to small aircraft.