Northrop Grumman to equip Directional Infrared Countermeasures System onboard US Marine Corps CH-53D and CH-46E helicopters
Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded separate contracts to outfit U.S. Marine Corps CH-53D and CH-46E helicopters with the company's battle-proven Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) system.
Under the terms of these latest contracts, with a combined value of approximately $13.3 million, Northrop Grumman will integrate the DIRCM self-protection system onto the Marines' CH-53D helicopter fleet, making the CH-53D the third Marine Corps rotary-wing platform to receive DIRCM protection from shoulder-launched, heat-seeking missile threats. In addition, numerous enhancements will be incorporated on the CH-46E helicopter fleet to streamline maintenance and handling of the system in the field. System deliveries will begin this year, with final deliveries in 2009.
"These latest contracts demonstrate the versatility of DIRCM in protecting both transport and rotary-wing platforms," said Carl Smith, vice president of Infrared Countermeasures programs for Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division. "Providing state-of-the-art technology against shoulder-fired missiles in addition to tailored training programs focused on DIRCM system capabilities will offer warfighters the protection and confidence they need for mission success in today's combat environment."
In 2007, Northrop Grumman received contracts for installation design, trial installation and flight tests of DIRCM systems onboard Marine Corps CH-46E and CH-53E helicopter fleets, representing the first integration of the company's two-color infrared missile warning sensor system with the Northrop Grumman Mini Pointer/Tracker assembly jam head. The DIRCM system will now identify threat missiles in the same spectrum the missile uses to track the aircraft, improving missile detection and survivability.
The only such aircraft protection system currently in production, Northrop Grumman's DIRCM system is now installed or scheduled for installation on several hundred military aircraft to protect approximately 40 different large fixed-wing transports and small rotary-wing platforms from infrared missile attacks. The system functions by automatically detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat and activating a high-intensity laser-based countermeasure system to track and defeat the missile.
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