The US Army will cease production of Northrop Grumman's CIRCM (Common Infrared Countermeasures) at full rate

Dojammer 2021-05-07

A crew of 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division taxis from the Redstone Test Center airfield in Redstone Arsenal, Ala. An air raid mission during the operational tests of the CIRCM. In the box: one of the military signal jammer devices of the CIRCM system (Common Infrared Countermeasure).

The new CIRCM system will equip all current helicopters in the service, starting with the UH-60M Black Hawk and the Future Vertical Lift helicopters under development.
On April 30, 2021, the US Army placed an order with Northrop Grumman to begin full production of the laser-based Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) system. The $ 1 billion fixed price contract will be completed to procure an unspecified number of CIRCM systems to equip all helicopters currently in service in the U.S. Army, starting with the UH-60M Black Hawk, as well as the winner of the Competitions under the Future Vertical Lift program, which will replace the current helicopter fleet.

6 Bands Signal Jammer

CIRCM, which is used on all rotary-wing, tilt-rotor, and small fixed-wing aircraft throughout the Department of Defense, is a lightweight Directional Infrared Counter Measures (DIRCM) system with two jammers specifically designed to protect aircraft from InfraRed guided missiles. According to Northrop Grumman, the system is based on an open architecture to work with existing hardware and uses a compact pointer / tracker, lightweight COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) processor, and advanced QCL (Quantum Cascade Laser) technology for more Reliability and Scalability.

The contract is awarded after years of development, testing and evaluation in cooperation with the US Army and an initial production of 100 units already delivered, including CIRCM systems for rapid response capabilities. As early as March 2021, after a successful six-month IOT & E (Initial Operational Test and Evaluation) activity, the army declared the system to be operational, effective and operational. Delivery of all contractually agreed CIRCM units is expected to be completed by 2026.

(File Photo) Soldiers assigned to the Archer Battery, Field Artillery Squadron, and 2nd Cavalry Regiment load their unit's M777 howitzer to be removed from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter belonging to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade (Helicopter Division) To bring the firing position to another. during the centrifugal loading process of the unit, which was carried out on March 23, 2016 in the Grafenwoehr training area near the rose barracks. [Author's Note: The AN / ALQ-212 ATIRCM's jammer being replaced by CIRCM is only visible under the back window of this Chinook.] (US Army photo by Sgt. William A. Tanner)

CIRCM is intended to replace the older and heavier BAE AN / ALQ-212 Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM) described by the USA. The army was very effective in combat and could not be used as planned on all helicopters in the service. Due to the weight, the system could not be installed on AH-64 Apaches and UH-60 Black Hawks, but only on CH-47 Chinooks.

The entire CIRCM system is broken down into two smaller kits as stated in the Army Aircraft Procurement Budget for Fiscal Year 21: "The CIRCM A-Kit contains mounting hardware, harnesses, and other components necessary to install and interface the mission kit The mission kit is functionally and physically operable with a specific host aircraft type. The CIRCM B-Kit is the mission kit (laser, pointer tracker and controller) required to provide near-spherical coverage for an aircraft to reach. "

As you may already know, two ATCO sub-programs are in the works: the Future Long Range Advanced Aircraft (FLRAA), a mid-size attack / utility aircraft that will replace the UH-60 Black Hawk; and the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA), a lightly armed reconnaissance helicopter that will be the successor to the retired OH-58 Kiowa Warrior. Bell and Sikorsky were selected as finalists in both competitions and submitted a further development of the V-280 Valor and Defiant X for FLRAA and the B-360 Invictus and Raider X for FARA.