Northrop Grumman CIRCM protects U.S. Army aircraft from emerging missile threats.
Northrop Grumman CIRCM protects U.S. Army aircraft from emerging missile threats.

Leonardo Signs Agreement with Northrop Grumman for Common Infrared Countermeasures

Leonardo has signed a long-term pricing agreement with Northrop Grumman Corporation to provide pointer/trackers for the United States Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) programme as it enters full-rate production. The five-year agreement could see Leonardo provide more than 1,200 pointer trackers in addition to the 500 already delivered. Leonardo will deliver the pointer/trackers from its site in Edinburgh, UK, which designs and produces world-class Directed Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) technology for the UK and its allies.

The agreement is the latest development in a successful long-term partnership between Northrop Grumman and Leonardo. The two companies began working together in 1995 on joint development of the AN/AAQ-24(V) Nemesis DIRCM for the US Department of Defense and UK Ministry of Defence. Leonardo developed and manufactured the pointer/tracker units for the Nemesis system. Continuing that tradition, today CIRCM employs Leonardo’s latest generation of compact pointer/tracker capability.

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Northrop Grumman Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM)
Northrop Grumman Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM)

The CIRCM system is a countermeasure that will protect US Army aircrews and their aircraft from incoming missiles. It works by targeting and ‘dazzling’ the threat’s infrared (IR) guidance system with a powerful laser. Leonardo’s pointer/tracker is at the heart of the system and directs the laser accurately onto the missile’s seeker, a powerful feat of engineering considering that the aircraft and missile are some distance apart and moving quickly in multiple directions.

Leonardo has delivered more than 500 pointer/tracker units to Northrop Grumman for the CIRCM programme, which saw first deliveries to the US Army in 2016. Drawing on a strong sense of commitment and partnership, Leonardo continued to successfully deliver units at record output levels throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Following a successful six-month initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) activity with the US Army, the CIRCM system will equip US Army platforms including the CH-47 Chinook, UH-60 Black Hawk and the AH-64 Apache.

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