Innovative Quantum Cascade Laser Based DIRCM
At Farnborough on 18 July Elettronica and Indra revealed they have been cooperating on the development of a quantum cascade laser-based (QCL) direct infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) system, to be known as EuroDIRQM. A prototype system has been built and tested, with the cooperation of the Italian Air Force, in March this year.
The aim of the companies has been to build an innovative DIRCM system, with proprietary technologies from several EU countries, to deliver a truly European self-protection solution fully ITAR-free to facilitate international commercialisation. The system is conceived as an ‘all-in-one’ equipment suitable for multi-platform, multi-mission applications, capable of providing self-protection capabilities to a wide range of aircraft.
QCL is the latest development in laser technology, representing a considerable advance over conventional semiconductor lasers. QCL energy is generated directly in the band of interest, optimising both power consumption and output beam. The EuroDIRQM solution will bring together some 30 years of combined experience in the DIRCM field by the two companies. In previous programmes, Indra and Elettronica have successfully applied their DIRCM capabilities to various platforms and applications: the new QCL technology will expand Indra’s DIRCM capabilities, already consolidated with the InShield system, contracted by OCCAR for the A400M ES fleet and operationally demonstrated in a CH47 CHINOOK in 2017. Similarly, Elettronica’s DIRCM portfolio, with the ELT/572 contracted by the Italian Air Force and installed on its C-130Js and SAR-configured AW101s, as well as having been operationally demonstrated in a C27J in 2016, will also be enhanced with this QCL-based solution.