BAE CIRCM solution

BAE Systems has submitted its proposal for the US Army’s next-generation common infrared countermeasure (CIRCM) programme.

The CIRCM programme aims to develop a laser-based, infrared countermeasures solution to protect US helicopters and light fixed-wing aircraft against infrared guided missiles or man-portable air defence systems.

Tested and evaluated at Worrell / Weeks Aircrew Protection Center in New Hampshire, US, BAE’s CIRCM offering received the handoff from the US Army’s existing common-missile warning system (CMWS) to provide appropriate countermeasures to defeat threats.

BAE Systems threat management solutions director Bill Staib said: "The submission of our CIRCM proposal is the latest offering in our more than 40 years of experience with infrared countermeasures, delivering critical aviation survivability equipment to our armed forces.

"We are leveraging the company’s extensive expertise to submit a proposal for a next-generation aircraft survivability solution, which would protect US military aircraft and troops from existing and evolving infrared-guided threats."

In February 2012, BAE received an initial $38m contract from the army to compete in the CIRCM technology demonstration phase, and then delivered initial units, in addition to completing lab testing, design reviews and flight testing.

"The submission of our CIRCM proposal is the latest offering in our more than 40 years of experience with infrared countermeasures."

The company offered its Boldstroke laser countermeasure system, which is a lightweight, low-cost jamming device designed to defend helicopters against infrared-guided missiles and other evolving threats.

Initially valued at a minimum of $1.1bn, the cost of the CIRCM programme is expected to rise to as much as $5bn, if the US Navy and US Air Force, as well as allied militaries, decide to equip their helicopters with the systems.

The army plans to equip 1,076 helicopters, including the Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk, Apache, Chinook, C-20, V-22 Osprey, Super Cobra and Super Huey.

The US intends to award a 26-month contract for the engineering, manufacturing, development and delivery of 21 CIRCM systems in early 2015.

Northrop Grumman, along with its industry team, is also bidding for the contract.

Image: The common infrared countermeasure programme aims to protect US rotary and fixed-wing aircraft from infrared guided missiles. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.

Defence Technology