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Directional Infrared Counter Measures (DIRCM) are a class of anti-missile systems produced to protect aircraft from infrared homing MANPADS. It is a light-weight and compact system designed to provide mission-vulnerable aircraft with increased protection from common battlefield threats. It is more advanced than conventional infrared countermeasures. Aerospace companies, such as Leonardo S.p.A., Elbit Systems, Northrop Grumman, ITT Corporation, and BAE Systems, are designing these systems.
The term DIRCM is used as a generic term to describe any infrared countermeasure system that tracks and directs energy toward the threat, as in the Russian 101KS-O system.
Method of operation
The systems use an effective method of jamming infrared missile seekers through the sensor aperture and can be placed in either active or standby mode. In the standby mode, the aircrew must select the active mode to begin jamming infrared (IR) threats. The pulsing flashes of IR energy confuse the missile guidance system, preventing the tracking of the target aircraft.
The AN/AAQ-24 system is a directional infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) system. It consists of a missile warning system (AN/AAR-54), an integration unit, a processor, and laser turrets (Small Laser Transmitter Assembly, SLTA). Early versions of this system used an arc lamp to generate the jammer signal. The newer versions of this system produced by Northrop Grumman use diode-based pump systems and are known by the name GUARDIAN. These systems can be fitted to many commercial carriers soon[when?], pending the completion of multiple tests on the viability of such options.
The AN/AAQ-24 system is installed in the Northrop Grumman Guardian system marketed for commercial aircraft. The system will be installed by 2025 on C-17 Globemaster III, MC-130, CV-22, and the CH-53E Super Stallion.
Large Aircraft Infrared Counter-Measure system (LAIRCM) was a US Military requirement for protecting its large aircraft from infrared-guided missiles. The AN/AAQ-24 Nemesis system was produced to serve this requirement.
LAIRCM-Lite is a C-17 program that uses a combination of laser jamming DIRCM and flares due to the limited availability of LAIRCM components.
The 101KS-O is a DIRCM system mounted on the Sukhoi Su-57 fighter jet. It has sensors that are placed in turrets, which are mounted on two points: the dorsal spine and the forward fuselage under the cockpit. It uses modulated laser-based countermeasures to confuse or destroy incoming missiles' tracking mechanisms. The 101KS-O is the first DIRCM that is deployed on any fighter aircraft.
- AN/ALQ-144 – Infrared guided-missile countermeasure system
- Civil Aircraft Missile Protection System
- Common Infrared Countermeasures program
- Flight Guard
- Infrared countermeasure, first type of countermeasures
- Missile approach warning system
- Northrop Grumman Guardian
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- Tahar, Abraham Ait (1 April 2019). "Russia's Su-57 Next Generation Fighter Shoots Lasers to Blind Enemy Missiles - A Look at the Directional Infrared Countermeasures System". Military Watch Magazine.
- Rogoway, Tyler (30 April 2018). "No, The Su-57 Isn't 'Junk:' Six Features We like On Russia's New Fighter". The Drive.