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Leonardo and Northrop Grumman Agreement for CIRCM

Five-Year Agreement, Up To 1,200 Systems

Leonardo has signed a long-term pricing agreement with Northrop Grumman to provide pointer/trackers for the US Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) programme as it enters full-rate production, the company announced on 23 August.

The five-year agreement could see Leonardo provide over 1,200 pointer/trackers, in addition to the 500 already delivered since 2016. The devices will be delivered from Leonardo’s site in Edinburgh, which designs and manufactures Directed Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) technology for a global customer base.

CIRCM is a countermeasure that protects US Army aircraft from incoming missiles by targeting and ‘dazzling’ the threat’s IR guidance system with a powerful laser. Leonardo’s pointer/tracker is at the heart of the system, directing the laser accurately onto the missile seeker – a powerful feat of engineering, considering that aircraft and missile are some distance apart and moving rapidly in multiple directions.

The agreement characterises a successful long-term partnership between Northrop Grumman and Leonardo, since their joint development of the AN/AAQ-24(V) NEMESIS DIRCM for the US DoD and UK MoD in 1995. Leonardo developed and manufactured the pointer/tracker units for NEMESIS – today, CIRCM employs the company’s latest generation of compact pointer/tracker. Deliveries have been maintained at record output levels throughout the pandemic.

Following a successful six-month initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) activity with the US Army, CIRCM will equip US Army platforms including the CH-47 CHINOOK, UH-60 BLACK HAWK and the AH-64 APACHE.

The CIRCM system incorporates a Leonardo pointer/tracker. (Photo: Northrop Grumman)

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