Here at the Farnborough International airshow Israeli electronics house Elbit Systems (Hall 1 Stand C14) is highlighting two new systems that expand the company’s portfolio in the field of aircraft protection. J-Music is a new DIRCM [directed infrared countermeasures] system intended for large aircraft, while the All-in-Small is a compact unified protection suite that has both fixed- and rotary-wing applications.
The U.S. Army is expected to award technology development contracts next month for a modular, lightweight infrared countermeasures system to defeat shoulder-fired missiles. BAE Systems, ITT Exelis, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are the announced competitors for the Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) requirement.
ITT Corp. will spin off its defense segment into a standalone business–ITT Exelis–later this year. The new company will be based in McLean, Va., and led by David Melcher, currently president of ITT Defense and Information Solutions, as CEO. The company’s 2011 revenue is estimated at $5.8 billion. Christopher Bernhardt will continue to lead the Electronic Systems unit in Clifton, N.J.
Northrop Grumman, named to supply its large-aircraft, infrared-countermeasures (LAIRCM) system on the U.S. Air Force’s new KC-46 tanker, recently demonstrated a podded version of the infrared-countermeasures system on the aircraft the tanker will replace, the KC-135.
As the culmination of a jointly funded cooperation program between Italian electronics house Elettronica and the Elop business of Elbit Systems, the Israeli company yesterday announced a $15 million contract to supply directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) systems for installation on Italian aerial platforms, including the Lockheed Martin C-130J and Alenia C-27J transports, and AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters.
Raytheon has used its missile experience to develop an infrared countermeasures (IRCM) capability that is vying to provide a LAIRCM (large-aircraft IRCM) solution for the U.S. Air Force’s fixed-wing platforms, and a CIRCM (common IRCM) system for the U.S. Army’s helicopters. A recent test series was conducted with great success.
Selex Galileo is the largest supplier of airborne electronic warfare (EW) equipment in Europe, and third only in the world behind BAE Systems North America and Northrop Grumman. This part of the Italian group’s business is in the hands of UK-based operation, which now boasts annual revenues of nearly £600 million ($980 million) and an order book of well over £1 billion ($1.64 billion).
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.
Man-carried portable air defense systems (Manpads), also known as shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, in the hands of terrorists have a lot of people very worried. It’s debatable how significant the concern really is– particularly in comparison with the threat from other sources.
For business jets operating in potentially hostile areas, Sweden’s Saab might soon offer some protection. The company’s Avitronics division is hoping to receive EASA certification within the next eight months for its Civil Aircraft Missile Protection System (Camps). The company claims the defense system–based on countermeasures already in use on military aircraft–is the only such European system for civil aircraft.