Northrop Grumman unveils new lightweight processor for rotary-wing self protection systems

Northrop Grumman unveils new lightweight processor for rotary-wing self protection systems

14-Jun-2011 Source: Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman Corporation have announced the development and demonstration of a new aircraft self-protection system processor that is specifically designed to meet the rigors of the military rotary-wing environment.

This miniaturized processor identifies, tracks and defeats the threat of infrared missiles launched against rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft.

Part of the company’s U.S. Army Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) self-protection system offering, this modular processor uses a commercially available operating system, is one-third lighter in weight, requires one-fourth the electrical input power, and is both more reliable and less costly to manufacture than the currently produced directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) processors.

The successful demonstration, where identification, tracking and acquisition of multiple missiles were verified, took place at Northrop Grumman’s Rolling Meadows facility and was witnessed by Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, a division of the U.S. Navy.

“This small processor has demonstrated the ability to perform complex tracking functions while hosted on a commercially off-the-shelf [COTS] processor,” said Carl Smith, vice president of infrared countermeasures for Northrop Grumman’s Land and Self Protection Systems Division. “The processor has demonstrated that it can track missiles in stressing environments including clutter by maintaining tracking through obscuring helicopter blades and rejecting flares.”

In addition to the new processor hardware, Northrop Grumman has created a software development environment to take advantage of over 1,000 hours of instrumented flight test and 800 live fire missile shots. During testing scenarios and demonstrations, the team can play back complex engagements and make sure all hardware and software is performing correctly, providing the best protection for the air crew.

“This software development environment lowers our risk in fielding new hardware and will allow us to modify software more quickly to address changing threats,” said Smith. “The standard COTS processor format makes this system much more affordable for our customers, easier to maintain and it provides exceptional capability to grow.”

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit for more information.

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