July Spectrum SitRep

CIRCM on CH-47
Northrop Grumman’s CIRCM system equips all US Army rotorcraft including Boeing CH-47 Chinook series heavylift helicopters shown here. It will also equip the army’s Future Vertical Lift rotorcraft.

Armada’s monthly round-up of all the latest electronic warfare news in the product, programme and operational domains.

Captain CIRCM

In early June Northrop Grumman announced that the company had delivered its 500th Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) system to the US Army. Reports stated that a further 336 CIRCMs remain on order with the total number of systems to be delivered to exceed 800. CIRCM reached an initial operational capability with the US Army in 2023 following the first field installation which occurred in 2021. Since then, the system has been installed across the US Army’s helicopter fleet. CIRCM is also expected to be installed onboard the army’s Future Vertical Lift rotorcraft platform. Bob Gough, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of aircraft survivability, told Armada that he expects CIRCM production to continue into the 2030s. CIRCM units currently under contract are expected to complete delivery by 2026.

Bad News for Jammers

Project BadB, led by Krattworks, has been awarded funding worth $6.4 million to develop technology to outflank Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) signal jamming. A press release announcing the news said the technology will be realised by employing satellite imagery data and machine vision algorithms. A key goal of the project is to ensure that platforms like Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles (UAVS) can navigate reliably without needing external radio sources such as PNT signals.

The funding has been awarded by the European Defence Fund (EDF). The EDF is a European Union (EU) initiative which, in its own words works to foster cooperation between companies and organisations in the defence sector, boost defence capability development, and help EU companies develop cutting edge and interoperable defence capabilities. Technologies to be developed include “a machine vision module, an image recognition system and development of a path planning system, based on sensor data, cross-platform data sharing and swarming,” said the press release.

Alongside Krattworks, GIM Robotics, Kappazeta and Rigr AI are involved in Project BadB. Edward Dixon, Rigr AI’s chief executive officer, told Armada that the project is currently between Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) Two and Four. According to European Union definitions TRL-2 means the technology concept has been formulated. TRL-3 denotes that an experimental proof of concept has been realised. TRL-4 shows that the technology has been demonstrated in a laboratory. Mr. Dixon says that the aim of the project is to reach TRL-8 with a complete system being qualified. This is the penultimate level before the technology is proven operationally, and ready for deployment. The technology could be fielded on UAVs before the two-year project closes in circa 2026.

by Dr. thomas Withington