Tenix-developed system could also protect C-130J

The Australian Department of Defence is funding the development of a miniature directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system as a candidate electronic warfare self-protection (EWSP) option to equip the Block 5 version of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Dubbed OZDIRCM, the system has been under development by Tenix Defence Systems for the past two years using funds provided by the DoD’s Project Air 6000 new air combat capability programme office, which is studying a potential 100-aircraft JSF acquisition to replace the Royal Australian Air Force’s Boeing F/A-18 and General Dynamics F-111 strike aircraft. Development support for widebody aircraft and helicopter variants is also being provided by the DoD’s Project Echidna airborne EWSP programme office, with this currently focused on the DIRCM’s potential use as an upgrade to the RAAF’s 12 Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules transports.

Echidna programme director Laurie Bode told the Association of Old Crows Australian Chapter show in Adelaide on 13 February that the development effort is intended to result in a “cost-effective” DIRCM system, with versions “suited for military jet, turboprop and helicopter application”. The fabrication of the first engineering prototype is already underway and initial flight testing will occur within the next 12 months. A full-scale model of the ball turret-housed OZDIRCM was unveiled at the Old Crows show.

Its laser generator and associated hardware are to be fitted inside the host aircraft immediately behind the non-retracting turret.

The system will initially use the same diode-pumped Nd:YAG solid-state laser as used in the Murlin DIRCM research programme being jointly run by Tenix and Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

An advanced tactical demonstrator version is currently undergoing optics integration ahead of testing as part of the joint Australian-US Project Arrangement 10 EWSP cooperation programme.

Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation says OZDIRCM is one of two indigenous EW systems that are to be progressed as “strategically essential” requirements under an airborne EWSP industrial strategy now being prepared. This also includes BAE Systems Australia’s ALR-2002 radar warning receiver, which is already on order to equip the Australian army’s Boeing CH-47D Chinook transport and Sikorsky S-70A-9 Black Hawk utility helicopters.


Source: Flight International