Military

BAE proposes smart countermeasure system to protect US airborne forces

BAE proposes smart countermeas...
BAE's modular Common Infrared Countermeasure unit (Photo: BAE Systems)
BAE's modular Common Infrared Countermeasure unit (Photo: BAE Systems)
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BAE's modular Common Infrared Countermeasure unit (Photo: BAE Systems)
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BAE's modular Common Infrared Countermeasure unit (Photo: BAE Systems)

BAE Systems has submitted a proposal to the US Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) program. Once operational, BAE's system will safeguard rotary and light-fixed wing aircraft, increasing survivability against the threat posed by infrared missiles. CIRCM is designed to work alongside an infrared warning system and a flare dispenser – a commonly-used countermeasure that confuses a guided missile into seeking the heat from the flare rather than that emitted by the target aircraft.

Under the proposal, CIRCM will be pushed warnings on potential infrared threats by the Common Missile Warning System (CMWS), an existing early warning system with the role of detecting and alerting pilots to a possible weapon lock. Once this determination has been made and translated, CIRCM will proceed to deploy either advanced laser technology to jam the missile's guidance system, or flares to neutralize the threat without the need for human intervention.

"The submission of our CIRCM proposal is the latest offering in our more than 40 years of experience with infrared countermeasures, delivering critical aviation survivability equipment to our armed forces," stated Director of Threat Management Solutions at BAE Systems, Bill Staib. "We are leveraging the company’s extensive expertise to submit a proposal for a next-generation aircraft survivability solution, which would protect US military aircraft and troops from existing and evolving infrared-guided threats.”

The improved countermeasure system is modular in design, capable of interfacing with existing aircraft either directly or via fiber coupling. The system is currently undergoing testing at BAE's Worrell/Weeks Aircrew Protection Center, where it will be further developed ahead of the US Army's announcement on contract awards for further development of selected candidate systems, set to take place early next year.

Source: BAE Systems

7 comments
Mel Tisdale
". . . without the need for human intervention." I assume that we are meant to read into this that one major application will be drones and autonomous aircraft.
kid-jensen
More likely, humans wouldn't be able to react fast enouugh...
Bob809
And for the RAF too?
StWils
Mel, PaulG is correct. The fast rise times of shoulder launched small missiles leaves very little to zero time for a pilot to respond. The faster a countermeasure can be fired the less likely our pilot gets spattered. This is precisely the kind of progressive innovation that revitalizes older aircraft to enable them to continue to achieve mission success on today's battlefield. This needs to be tried out SOON on the USAF A10 Warthog. The A10 is the Best Ever Close Air Support weapon system devised and we need to as many of them as possible drilling ISIS into the desert floor. If the USAF does not like this idea, and they will not like it, then these improved A10s can go into battle again but wearing U S Army aircraft art. Anyone who has ever watched an A10 tip over into a speeding dive until the angry-chainsaw gatling gun visibly slows the diving aircraft knows the ground target is being drilled hard. Each bullet is approximately two feet apart and is harder than anything it is likely to hit. Equipping this aircraft with an improved IR countermeasure will remove the USAF's whine about ground fired Manpads missiles. The F35 is NOT a better idea for CAS missions. The A10 was built for precisely this kind of CAS mission. The A10 is the right size hammer to use on ISIS.
the.other.will
The qualities of the A-10, like any other aircraft inc. the F-35, is dependent on the situation. The A-10 requires the USA to have air supremacy, i.e. the ability to use airspace without fear of interference. And as good as it is, it's not as good as an AC-130 circling overhead firing artillery rounds. But there've never been many AC-130s & they're much more vulnerable to air defenses than the A-10. A-10s are an ideal weapon over Iraq but is probably less so in the 3 (or more) sided war in Syria that can not be separated from the 1 in Iraq.
Larry Pines
So, is this supposed to be a replacement for the AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Set?
Keenan Lee
Having a diversified arsenal is optimum but what is driving all this is the budget. Generals and managers are budget conscious which includes their pay. They want to chop the A-10 program along with maintenance, upgrades, support, and training. That means billions in recouped costs. That also means part of our force is degraded since the A-10 fills a void the others can't fill. The AC-130 can loiter slowly and deliver heavy fire power but can't get out of the way fast enough. The newer F-35 can't stick around long enough or deliver enough sustained fire to deter advancing or dug-in troops. The F-16 is fast, accurate, and delivers a powerful hit but still can't hang around to help out. The A-10 is the ground soldier's big brother. Ready to knock out anyone that threatens them and big enough to sustain multiple hits. I say less ordering of the F-35 and keep the A-10 but who am I. It's the good old boys club that need to make that decision.