The latest trend
is the introduction of miniaturized, dual-band turrets, comprising
missile detection and tracking sensors and directional infrared
countermeasures. Such devices can fit on medium helicopters,
transport aircraft as well as fast jets, protecting them against
most modern threats. Such systems are under development by Raytheon,
BAE Systems, Elta, Elbit Systems and Northrop Grumman.
Laser-based DIRCMS require more accurate information about
incoming threats, to ensure the laser beam illuminating precisely
and continuously at the specific, highest priority threat. One
of the innovations in this field, displayed by Northrop Grumman
is the integrated 'Mini Pointer/Tracker'
specially designed for laser-based DIRCM. When cued by the missile
warning system, the pointing system rapidly acquires the approaching
threat, tracks it and jams it with laser energy from the integrally
mounted Viper multi-band IRCM laser.
Elbit Systems and the Italian company Elettronica announced
cooperation to pursue potential DIRCM programs, utilizing the
Music DIRCM system, developed by Elbit Systems under previously
announced cooperation with RAFAEL.
Sofar DIRCM systems were installed on large transport aircraft
and helicopters. Northrop Grumman is currently under contract
to design, test and integrate the DIRCM self-protection system
onto the Marines' CH-46E helicopter fleet. A similar program
is already underway with the corps' CH-53E helicopters. Integration
with AH-64D is also underway.
Topics covered in this review: