CIRCM system

The US Army has taken delivery of the first common infrared countermeasures (CIRCM) system under contract from Northrop Grumman, two months ahead of the original schedule.

The system has been delivered along with a complete hardware set, following a comprehensive acceptance testing with the army, which validated its performance, size, and weight and power compliance characteristics.

As part of a $31.4m technology demonstration contract awarded in February 2012 for production of next-generation aircraft survivability equipment, Northrop is developing eight CIRCM systems for protection of helicopters against man-portable air-defence systems (MANPADS) and other heat-seeking weapons.

Northrop Grumman Land and Self-Protection Systems division vice president and general manager Jeffrey Palombo said the early delivery demonstrated the system’s maturity and also marked a significant step further towards deployment in the battlefield.

"We will make certain that our CIRCM system performs beyond the army’s expectations and remains ready to address evolving threat contingencies at a moment’s notice," Palombo added.

The contract also includes supply of three full ship CIRCM sets for the army’s 21-month research, development, test and evaluation programme involving reliability testing, missile jamming tests, as well as flight tests on an army platform.

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"We will make certain that our CIRCM system performs beyond the army’s expectations and remains ready to address evolving threat contingencies at a moment’s notice."

Manufactured in collaboration with industry partners, including SELEX Galileo and Daylight Solutions, the newly delivered system is now scheduled to undergo reliability testing.

CIRCM programme is aimed at development of a laser-based infrared countermeasures solution for protection of US Armed Forces’ rotorcraft and fixed-wing platforms from present and future infrared threat systems.

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

Other CIRCM contractors include BAE Systems, which is offering its Boldstroke laser countermeasure system as part of a $38m technology demonstration contract.

Image: Northrop and US Army officials with the initial delivery of CIRCM hardware in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, US. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corp.

Defence Technology