Northrop Grumman Corporation announced the successful integration of the company's infrared self-protection system developed for the U.S. Army Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) program with a mid-infrared transport fiber laser coupling, demonstrating the systems' enhanced Modular Open System Architecture (MOSA).
"The fiber coupling of laser jamming energy into our jam head demonstrates how this CIRCM system approach supports both direct coupled and remote laser sources," said Carl Smith, vice president of Infrared Countermeasures for Northrop Grumman's Land and Self Protection Systems Division. "As new threats evolve, our CIRCM system is ready to take advantage of advancing laser technology to counter emerging threats. While the direct coupled laser architecture is more mature, efficient and provides higher jamming energy today, the fiber-coupled approach enables larger and more complex laser components that cannot be mounted on the jam head to be used. Our CIRCM jam head interface supports both architectures offering the best growth options for our warfighters in the future."
"The company's multi-band, Viper™ laser, currently in full rate production, and a small jam head were used during this demonstration with positive results," Smith said.
The continued development and maturity for the military airborne environment of a common fiber interface will greatly facilitate future laser or jam head upgrades as technology evolves. The entire system has been designed from the bottom up to use MOSA interfaces giving the warfighter more flexibility to connect to other line replaceable units (LRU) across the inventory of platforms and upgrade individual components without replacing the whole system.
To date, Northrop Grumman has delivered over 2,000 IRCM transmitters and the company's directional infrared countermeasures system is the only such aircraft protection system currently in full scale production and installed on over 500 hundred military aircraft to protect approximately 50 different types of rotary-wing platforms and large fixed-wing transports from heat seeking missile attacks. The system functions by automatically detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat to the aircraft and activating a high-intensity laser-based countermeasure system to track and defeat the missile.