JED - November 2017 - 26

DIRCM's Future:

Low-End/Low-Cost, Fast
Jets and Directed Energy

I

By Dr. David Rockwell

The Journal of Electronic Defense | November 2017

26

In this article, we will look at speculative futures for next-generation directed
infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) systems. This article is the second piece of
a two-part series on the DIRCM systems
market. The first part, which appeared
in the June, 2017 JED, looked at past
and present-day DIRCM programs. This
article will focus on the future DIRCM
market, including low-cost DIRCMs for
smaller helicopters and aircraft, as well
as future fast jet DIRCM and high-energy laser (HEL) systems.

LEGACY LOW-COST DIRCM MARKET
ENDS WITH CIRCM CONTRACTS
Last decade, Raytheon rather cleverly leveraged its AIM-9X Sidewinder
missile seeker to develop the Scorpion
low-cost DIRCM system for light helicopters and other small platforms, including, potentially, fast jets. Light weight
and low cost were the principles behind
the thousands of BAE Systems AN/ALQ144 heat lamp IRCMs already procured
worldwide. Available DIRCMs, such as
Northrop Grumman's AAQ-24 Large Aircraft IR Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system and BAE's ALQ-212 Advanced Threat
IR Countermeasures (ATIRCM) system,
were still too expensive for a broad procurement and too heavy for many medium and small helicopter types.
Based on proven, reliable components (more than 1,000 AIM-9Xs had
been delivered), Raytheon saw a potential market for thousands of systems.
The US was spending more than a half-

billion dollars per year to equip large
platforms with LAIRCM; another hundred million a year might have allowed
hundreds of smaller platforms to utilize
a modern DIRCM system and replace the
venerable heat lamps. In terms of eligible platforms, Raytheon put it best by
suggesting Scorpion for aircraft that are
"constrained by allowable payload size,
life cycle cost and combat reliability"
- essentially a way of saying platforms
not worth (or not big enough for) a $2+
million DIRCM system.
Raytheon also pitched other configurations, including Quiet Eyes (the Scorpion DIRCM system without the missile
warning sensors) as a lower cost jam head
for large aircraft systems like the Air
Force's LAIRCM system. With a one-year
system development and demonstration
(SDD) contract in June 2007, Northrop
Grumman worked with Raytheon at integrating Quiet Eyes with LAIRCM, under the CELAMP (Cost Effective Light
Aircraft Missile Protection) program.
Suggested platforms included Army and
Navy Helicopters (such as the MH-47 and
AH-1Z) and Air Force aircraft (A-10, MH53, and others), with production systems
planned for as early as 2011.
In September 2008, ITT Electronic
Systems (now Harris Corp.) also successfully flight tested a new, unnamed,
low-cost DIRCM system aboard a UH-60
Blackhawk. Testing continued through
2009. This was presumably the system
that didn't win the Army's Common
IRCM (CIRCM) development competition

in January 2012, and inspired ITT/Exelis's unsuccessful protest.
Market analysis from Teal Group Corporation (Fairfax, VA) saw a good future for these low-cost systems, but the
CIRCM award in January 2012 reduced
future US low-cost DIRCM opportunities considerably.
The CIRCM program (see the June,
2017 JED) got underway with Technology Development (TD) contracts in
2012. However, these were only awarded
to the "big guns" in DIRCM - Northrop
Grumman (LAIRCM) and BAE Systems
(ATIRCM). These were followed by the
engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) and low-rate initial production (LRIP) contracts to Northrop
Grumman in August 2015. With these
contracts in place, the first half of this
decade has not seen many offerings of
new, low-cost DIRCM and missile warning systems.
But in February 2016, the early
production ADIRCM (Assault DIRCM)/
DAIRCM (Distributed Aperture IRCM)
(also see the June, 2017 JED) system
appeared. Produced by Leonardo DRS
Electro-optical Infrared Systems and,
Leonardo Daylight Solutions (which also
produce the lasers for CIRCM), DAIRCM
production was initially funded by the
US Navy for 12 systems, which were to
be installed in 2017-18 on three different helicopter types - the USMC's AH-1Z
and UH-1Y, and the Navy's MH-60S. The
unit cost, installed, seemed to be about
$2.3-2.4 million.



JED - November 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - November 2017

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
World Report
Forecast: Future of DIRCM
Sensor Fusion for 4th Gen Fighters
Technology Survey: ELINT Receivers
54th Annual AOC International Symposium and Convention Guide
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - November 2017 - intro
JED - November 2017 - cover1
JED - November 2017 - cover2
JED - November 2017 - 3
JED - November 2017 - 4
JED - November 2017 - 5
JED - November 2017 - The View From Here
JED - November 2017 - 7
JED - November 2017 - Conferences Calendar
JED - November 2017 - 9
JED - November 2017 - Courses Calendar
JED - November 2017 - 11
JED - November 2017 - From the President
JED - November 2017 - 13
JED - November 2017 - 14
JED - November 2017 - insert1
JED - November 2017 - insert2
JED - November 2017 - The Monitor
JED - November 2017 - 16
JED - November 2017 - 17
JED - November 2017 - 18
JED - November 2017 - 19
JED - November 2017 - 20
JED - November 2017 - 21
JED - November 2017 - 22
JED - November 2017 - 23
JED - November 2017 - World Report
JED - November 2017 - 25
JED - November 2017 - Forecast: Future of DIRCM
JED - November 2017 - 27
JED - November 2017 - 28
JED - November 2017 - 29
JED - November 2017 - 30
JED - November 2017 - 31
JED - November 2017 - 32
JED - November 2017 - 33
JED - November 2017 - 34
JED - November 2017 - Sensor Fusion for 4th Gen Fighters
JED - November 2017 - 36
JED - November 2017 - 37
JED - November 2017 - 38
JED - November 2017 - Technology Survey: ELINT Receivers
JED - November 2017 - 40
JED - November 2017 - 41
JED - November 2017 - 42
JED - November 2017 - 43
JED - November 2017 - 44
JED - November 2017 - 45
JED - November 2017 - 46
JED - November 2017 - 47
JED - November 2017 - 48
JED - November 2017 - 54th Annual AOC International Symposium and Convention Guide
JED - November 2017 - 50
JED - November 2017 - 51
JED - November 2017 - 52
JED - November 2017 - 53
JED - November 2017 - 54
JED - November 2017 - 55
JED - November 2017 - 56
JED - November 2017 - 57
JED - November 2017 - 58
JED - November 2017 - 59
JED - November 2017 - 60
JED - November 2017 - 61
JED - November 2017 - 62
JED - November 2017 - 63
JED - November 2017 - 64
JED - November 2017 - 65
JED - November 2017 - EW 101
JED - November 2017 - 67
JED - November 2017 - 68
JED - November 2017 - AOC News
JED - November 2017 - 70
JED - November 2017 - 71
JED - November 2017 - 72
JED - November 2017 - Index of Advertisers
JED - November 2017 - JED Quick Look
JED - November 2017 - cover3
JED - November 2017 - cover4
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