MINNEAPOLIS --- Alliant Techsystems achieved a major milestone in mid-September when it produced the one millionth M212 countermeasure flare for the U.S. Army's Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munitions program. ATK produces these flares as aircraft defensive countermeasures to protect U.S. troops by confusing infrared heat-seeking missiles.
"ATK is providing a key element in the protection of those risking their lives for our nation," said Bill Condas, ATK Launch Systems vice president of Strategic and Commercial Systems. "We feel privileged to produce a product that ultimately helps soldiers return home safely."
The flare is a specialized, multi-spectral, countermeasure device used in combination with other flares on vulnerable, low-, slow-flying aircraft, such as helicopters and fixed-wing transport/cargo aircraft. The M212 works by releasing an infrared signature that mimics the infrared signature of the aircraft, so if a specialized weapon is used, the flare will decoy the missile to it -- protecting the aircraft.
"Enhanced surface-to-air infrared weapons systems pose a significant threat to slow flying aircraft," said Tom Donehue, ATK Launch Systems vice president for Ordnance Programs. "To meet customer needs we have ramped up production 6-fold in an 18 month period, and now produce 66,000 M212 flares per month."
ATK is a $4 billion advanced weapon and space systems company employing approximately 16,500 people in 21 states.