Incoming Missiles to Get Really Confused by Army’s New Countermeasure Systems

Northrop Grumman Common Infrared Countermeasure 1 photo
Photo: Northrop Grumman
Hearing the warning about an enemy missile having a lock on the plane or helicopter must be one of a pilot’s worst nightmares. The alarms start blazing, evasive maneuvers have to be taken, and a lot of prayers need to be said. Somewhere in between come the countermeasure systems available depending on the aircraft.
The range of such countermeasures is set to expand over the next five years after Northrop Grumman was given the green light by the U.S. Army to produce and close to $1 billion to deliver the so-called Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) system.

CIRCM is a suite meant to be deployed on both rotary-wing and medium fixed-wing aircraft. It’s main goal is to protect these machines from shoulder-fired and vehicle-launched anti-aircraft missiles that use infrared and the target’s heat signature to home in for the kill.

The system comprises a tracker to detect the incoming threat, processors, and lasers. It engages to effectively jam the missile and make it lose its lock on the target. In the future, when the type of threat will probably be different, CIRCM will probably be able to adapt, as it was made as an open systems architecture, capable of being integrated with other systems and sensors.

The system is already up and running on more than 1,500 aircraft from 80 different types and families, and according to Northrop Grumman, it has been in the air for more than one million hours. We are not told how many times it got to be used, though.

It’s unclear at this point on what aircraft the system will be fitted next. That said, when the program was announced back in 2009, the Army was looking to deploy it on the AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook, as well as on the helicopters currently being developed.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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