As U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan winds down, a workhorse electronic protection system that helps helicopter aircrews survive attacks from shoulder-fired weapons, prepares to be redeployed to other regions. For the last five years, the Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM) system has protected helicopters and their crews in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The threat of ground-based explosives made the use of helicopters for troop and equipment transportation in this region standard operating procedure.
The ATIRCM system was developed as the result of a partnership between the U.S. Army and our company to counter the omnipresent threat of shoulder-fired weapons known as ManPortable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS). These heat-seeking missiles home in on the infrared energy generated by the heat of an aircraft’s engine, making helicopters ideal targets. ATIRCM was designed as the countering component of an integrated suite which includes, its “eyes”, the Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) which can cue either ATIRCM’s laser response or the other component of the integrated suite, a flare dispenser.
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