Infrared laser jammer will identify missile type first

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Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and Tenix Defence Systems are considering developing a closed-loop infrared (IR) countermeasures (CLIRCM) system that identifies the missile type to be jammed. They claim CLIRCM would allow for faster engagement of multiple missile threats.

Demonstrated by the US Air Force Research Laboratory in 2001 in live fire tests, the CLIRCM concept is based on analysing incoming anti-aircraft missiles. It determines the missile type and transmits a customised IR jam code sequence that causes the seeker to break its lock on an aircraft.

Existing directed infrared countermeasures systems (DIRCM) are designed to confuse missiles by saturating the seeker with laser energy, causing instability in the guidance system. Australia’s first multi-band solid-state laser DIRCM capable of jamming IR missile seekers was successfully tested in 2003. Australia’s Boeing Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft will use a US-supplied DIRCM from early 2007.

DSTO plans to release further details if its CLIRCM, an adaptation of its existing multi-band research laser infrared countermeasures demonstrator, in mid-February.

In parallel, DSTO and Sydney, Australia-based Tenix are working on a multiple-beam DIRCM using a single laser generator. The laser light is distributed via fibreoptics to multiple beam windows around the airframe to provide greater hemispherical protection.

Elop and Rafael in Israel have developed similar fibre laser technology, as have BAE Systems and the UK’s University of Southampton (Flight International, 7-13 December 2004).