The U.S. Army is working with BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman to develop a laser-based common infrared countermeasures system to guard military aircraft from man-portable missiles, the Army News Service reported Friday.
C. Todd Lopez writes the military service began the CIRCM program’s technology maturation and risk-reduction phase and could select the contractor who will continue in the engineering, manufacturing and development phase this fiscal year.
The branch awarded $18 million in contract modifications to BAE and Northrop in August 2014 through the initiative.
Col. Jong Lee, Army project manager for aircraft survivability equipment, said the CIRCM system would be lightweight and employ an open systems architecture.
“Because of the way we designed the system as being open architecture, it allows us to have growth for emerging threats,” Lee added.
The Army and the Navy plan to integrate the technology into UH-60, AH-64, AH-1 and MV-22 aircraft platforms.
Lopez reports the system could enter low-rate initial production in fiscal 2017 and reach initial operating capability by fiscal 2019.