JED - March 2010 - (Page 16)

t he ARMY CIRCM PROGRAM GEARS UP monitor news CIRCM’s total system weight requirement previously stood at 120 pounds. Pickering said that figure likely would be adjusted because it was difficult to meet for the larger helicopters due to the heavier A-kits they require. For example, the CIRCM A-kit for the Marine Corps’ AH-1W helicopter might weigh 10 pounds less than the A-kit for the Army’s CH-47 Chinook. The Army was leaning toward having a B-kit weight limitation of 85 pounds, Pickering said, while allowing the A-kit weight to vary based on the size of the helicopter. Mark Hutchens, CIRCM program manager at BAE Systems (Nashua, NH), argued that total system weight (A-kit + B-kit) was a more relevant requirement for helicopters with little weight to spare, such as the Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64D Apache helicopters. A he told JED, “Every As pound counts for thos smaller platforms.” those Earlier-generation laser-based IRCM Earlier-generat systems with much higher weights have been in service on Air Force i transport aircraft and on Marine a Corps CH-5 CH-53E and Army CH-47D Chinook heavy-lift helicopters. he Northrop Grumman’s Large Aircraft Grum IRCM (LAIRCM) s system is used on USAF C-17s and C-130 variants. In addition, the Marine Corps began fielding the Department of the Navy LAIRCM variant in N early 2009 on its CH-53E helicopters in Iraq CH and Afghanistan, and its CH-46s and CH-53Ds i are slated to follow. Last Oc October, the Army began installing BAE Systems’ Advanced Threat IRCM (ATIRCM) system on the Army’s CH-47D Chinooks in Iraq and Afghanistan under a Quick-Reaction Capability (QRC) program. p Tom Kirkpatrick, BAE Systems’ ATIRCM QRC program manager, told JED that the total weight (A-kit + B-kit) of the ATIRCM QRC system being installed on the Chinooks is 330 pounds, including 160 pounds for its two-jam-head B-kit. The latest version of Northrop Grumman’s LAIRCM system uses a jam head called Guardian, which is smaller than its predecessor and entered service on Air Force aircraft a little over a year ago. Carl Smith, vice president of IRCM programs at Northrop Grumman Land and Self-Protection Systems Division (Rolling Meadows, IL), told JED that the Guardian jam head weighs 47 pounds. The company’s significantly smaller jam head for its CIRCM offering, developed jointly with partner Finmeccanica’s Selex Galileo (Edinburg, Scotland), is called Eclipse (see photo). It weighs 20 pounds less than Guardian, Smith noted, and has fewer moving parts, providing higher reliability. The Journal of Electronic Defense | March 2010 The US Army plans to kick its nascent Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) program into high gear within the next several months. The service aims to develop a laser-based, directed IRCM system that is light enough to fit on its rotarywing aircraft, particularly its utility and attack helicopters, as well as on those of the other three services. The key to driving down system weight is to shrink the size of the gimbaled laser pointer-trackers or jam heads, which direct high-intensity modulated beams of IR laser energy at incoming IR-guided missiles to confuse their guidance systems. Two jam heads, typically one on each side of a helicopter, provide near- hemide neara ar spheric protection. The CIRCM (pronounced “kerkum”) program ced gained approval from Army and DOD officials my in mid-February to move forward. The sere vice’s planned next step as this issue went to press was to conduct one or two CIRCM industry days to help refine a draft request for proposals before osals releasing a final RFP this spring, acs cording to Army LTC Ray Pickering. He is the IRCM product manager at Huntsager ville, AL, under the Program Execurogram tive Office for Intelligence, Electronic nce, Warfare and Sensors at Ft. Monmouth, NJ. He told JED that the Army hopes to select two or more competing contracpeting tors by October 1 to conduct a Technology uct Development phase, and subsequently plans to down-select to a single contractor for an Ene gineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) turing phase. The Army’s target for the First Unit Equipped milestone is 2017, he said. Pickering said the Army had gained valuable insights about the maturity of available CIRCM technology from five months of testing CIRCM prototypes developed by several EW companies. That testing concluded in December. Five companies – ATK, BAE Systems, DRS, ITT and Northrop Grumman – participated in the Army’s voluntary reliability characterization and jam head performance evaluations. A key CIRCM requirement, in addition to high reliability and low total ownership cost, is the total system weight, which has not yet been finalized, Pickering said. That weight comprises A-kit and B-kit modifications to an aircraft. The A-kit includes the cables, mounting brackets and other structure required for each different type of aircraft to be wired to accept the B-kit. CIRCM’s nominal B-kit consists of two jam heads, two lasers and two jam head control units.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - March 2010

JED - March 2010
The View From Here
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
Modernizing EW Ranges
Shooting Down the Good Guys
USAF EW Sustainment
Technology Survey: TWTs and MPMs
EW 101
AOC News
Industry/Institute/University Members
JED Sales Offices
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - March 2010