|ATIRCM system shines laser light to defeat infrared missile threats. (artist rendering) Photo: BAE Systems
[Avionics Today 09-05-2014] For the last five years, the U.S. military has employed the BAE Systems’ Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM) system to protect helicopters and crews from shoulder-fired weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan. But as conflict winds down, the system looks to be redeployed to other regions and the company is currently developing a more compact, lighter weight version of it. The Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) system is known internally as Boldstroke.
“With the latest plans that the ATIRCM system will be in the field until at least 2023, we know the significance of continuing to fund the types of technology that make for easy capability upgrades,” said Terry Crimmins, vice president and general manager of BAE System’s Survivability and Targeting Systems.
The ATIRCM works to counter the threat of shoulder-fired weapons known as ManPortable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS). These heat-seeking missiles home in on the infrared energy generated by the heat of an aircraft’s engine, making helicopters ideal targets. ATIRCM was designed as the countering component of an integrated suite which includes, its “eyes,” the Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) which can cue either ATIRCM’s laser response or a flare dispenser.