The US Army has awarded a contract to BAE Systems to participate in the development of the next generation Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) solution for the Armed Forces' rotary-wing aircraft.
Under the $38m, 21-month technology demonstration contract, the company will provide its Boldstroke laser countermeasure system, which is a lightweight, reliable, low-cost jamming device designed to defend helicopters against infrared-guided missiles and other evolving threats.
Boldstroke features hardware and algorithms ready for the low-risk transition to operational testing, and compact pointer / tracker based on a gimbal design and advanced laser technology.
The flexible system combines the elements of previous laser jamming systems to meet the size, weight and power needs of both light and heavy rotary-wing platforms and also .
The system minimises A-Kit and B-Kit weight to maximise aircraft payload, and offers cost savings by improving weapon system availability.
The system is compatible with BAE Systems' Common Missile Warning System deployed on many of the army's rotary-wing fleet and uses a Modular Open System Approach (MOSA) and non-proprietary interfaces for interchange-ability and technology insertion.
The CIRCM programme aims to procure a laser-based infrared countermeasures solution to protect US Army rotorcraft and fixed-wing platforms, and US Navy and US Air Force rotorcraft platforms from present and future infrared threat systems.
The programme is valued at a minimum of $1.1bn, which is expected to rise to as much as $5bn if the Navy and Air Force, as well as allied militaries decide to equip the helicopters with the laser defence systems.
Initially, 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 helicopters.
More than 10,000 CIRCM systems have been delivered to date, by the company for installation on army platforms.
Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman also secured a $31.4m contract to continue the CIRCM development work along with its partners, SELEX Galileo and Daylight Defense.
Image: US Army plans to equip UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter with missile-jamming lasers to defend against infrared-guided missiles.