Anti-missile system nears trials
Italy’s Elettronica has entered the last phase of development of its directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system for the anti-missile protection market, and is due to complete ground tests and flight trials by the end of 2009. The project was launched in 2007 to create a system that would protect aircraft from infrared-guided (“heat-seeking”) surface-to-air missiles, and in particular, man-portable air defense systems.
The ELT/572 DIRCM uses fiber-laser (FL) technology, which Elettronica claims is its first use in such a system, “combining the advantages of diode-pumped solid-state lasers with those of waveguides.” The FL advantage is to amplify monochromatic light inside the optical fiber, instead of in a rod or a gas medium. This allows the energy to be conveyed as it is generated, “improving performance while also reducing system weight and volume.”
Elettronica says that the system also incorporates a fixed dome so that the moving parts of the moving turret are isolated from the external environment. It can operate with most types of missile warning systems, UV and IR-based equipment.