Military

Full Speed Ahead for Army’s CIRCM Operational Flight Tests

By Brian Garrett-Glaser | February 7, 2019
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CIRCM. U.S. Army Photo.

Testing and assessment of the common infrared countermeasures (CIRCM) system show it is “perform[ing] as intended,” according to the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Director, Operational Testing & Evaluation (DOT&E).

Laboratory, free flight and operational tests showed the systems’ “pointer/trackers slewed to the missile locations designated by the missile warning system and the lasers provided effective jamming,” the DOTE report states.

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CIRCM, developed by Northrop Grumman, is a defensive system intended for use by rotary, tiltrotor and slow-moving fixed-wing aircraft to detect and disrupt threats that use infrared-based tracking through laser energy.

The Army must still conduct more operational flight tests to meet CIRCM’s system reliability requirement – 214 hours mean time between operational failures – but “flight test data indicates CIRCM is on track to meet the requirement at the conclusion of [initial operational test & evaluation] with a current measured reliability of 115 hours,” according to the DOTE report.

In September, Northrop Grumman announced CIRCM had achieved Milestone C, which marks the end of the development and testing phase and the beginning of production and deployment.

Northrop Grumman expects the Army to order “over 1,500 CIRCM systems to support training and deployment on helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft around the world,” according to President and CEO President Kathy Warden on the company’s fourth-quarter 2018 earnings call.

CIRCM will replace the advanced threat infrared countermeasures (ATIRCM) system designed by BAE Systems, which also competed for the Army’s CIRCM project but lost to Northrop Grumman 2015.

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