Leonardo has entered into a partnership agreement with Northrop Grumman Corporation to provide pointer / trackers for the United States Army's Common Infra-Red Countermeasures (CIRCM) program. The five-year agreement will allow Leonardo to supply, with the CIRCM program at full capacity, more than 1.200 pointer / trackers in addition to the 500 already delivered. Leonardo will deliver the pointer / trackers from its site in Edinburgh, UK, where it designs and manufactures Direct Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) technologies for the UK and its allies.
The CIRCM system is a countermeasure that will protect US Army crews and their aircraft from oncoming missiles. It works by aiming and “blinding” the threat's infrared (IR) guidance system with a powerful laser. Leonardo's pointer / tracker is the heart of the system and directs the laser precisely at the missile finder - a remarkable feat of engineering considering the plane and missile are some distance away and moving rapidly in multiple directions.
The agreement is the latest development in a long-term successful partnership between Northrop Grumman and Leonardo. The two companies began working together in 1995 on the joint development of the AN / AAQ-24 (V) Nemesis DIRCM for the US Department of Defense and the UK Department of Defense. Leonardo developed and produced the pointer / tracker units for the Nemesis system. Continuing the tradition, today the CIRCM employs the latest generation of Leonardo's compact pointer / tracker functionality.
Leonardo delivered more than 500 pointer / tracker units to Northrop Grumman for the CIRCM program, which saw the first deliveries to the United States Army in 2016. With a sense of commitment and collaboration, Leonardo continued to deliver units at record production during the Covid-19 pandemic. After a successful six-month initial operational test and evaluation (IOT & E) activity with the US Army, the CIRCM system will equip US weapon platforms, including the CH-47 Chinook, UH-60 Black Hawk and the AH-64 Apache.