The US Army has declared initial operational capability (IOC) for Northrop Grumman’s common infrared countermeasure (CIRCM) systems.

The new IOC milestone signifies that the CIRCM system is now eligible for early fielding and employment in significant quantities with the army.

The announcement has further expedited the process of equipping CIRCM systems onto nearly 1,500 rotary wing platforms, including the UH-60M Black Hawk and HH-60M helicopters, and the AH-64E Apache and CH-47F Chinook fleet.

Northrop Grumman-built CIRCM is a next generation, laser-based, infrared countermeasure system that protects the aircraft from vehicle-launched anti-aircraft and shoulder-fired missiles.

As a critical lifesaving technology, this system also ensures aircrew survivability, allowing the warfighters to continue maintaining their focus on the mission.

It also features enhanced power and reduced weight to support multi-domain operations and promote advancement in the US Army’s modernisation initiative.

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By GlobalData

The experience and results post installation of the CIRCM system onto the US Army’s existing fleet will be used to assess the requirements for the future attack reconnaissance aircraft (FARA) and future long-range assault aircraft (FLRAA).

Northrop Grumman vice-president, navigation, targeting and survivability Bob Gough said: “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.”

So far, the company has delivered more than 250 CIRCM systems to the US Army, with the initial full-rate production contract awarded in May 2021.

Meanwhile, the system is currently equipped onto approximately 100 aircraft and has already registered nearly 11,000 flight hours since its first installation in December 2021.

Currently, Northrop Grumman is working to provide the enhanced laser Line Replaceable Unit upgrade, which is expected to boost the system’s capability to counter near-peer threats.