NASHUA, N.H.---Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company, and the U.S. Navy have completed a series of unprecedented live-fire tests of Sanders' latest infrared countermeasures technology -- the Tactical Aircraft Directional Infrared Countermeasures (TADIRCM) system. The tests, conducted at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Oct. 4 to 22, were the world's first demonstration of a laser-based directable countermeasure system defeating both surface-to-air and air-to-air threats during live-fire missile tests. The live-fire tests were the second in several flight performance tests scheduled to demonstrate the applicability of laser based infrared countermeasures to tactical, fixed wing aircraft.
TADIRCM, in development at Sanders since 1996, is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the Advanced Tactical Aircraft Protection System office (PMA-272). The system is the next generation design upgrade to the existing Tri-Service Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures/Common Missile Warning System (ATIRCM/CMWS) and will permit upgrades of aircraft IRCM capabilities with a minimum of aircraft integration impact.
Steve Kelley, Sanders' TADIRCM Program Manager, said, "The success of these live-fire tests demonstrates Sanders' laser technology expertise and its applicability to electronic warfare. Subsequent live-fire tests early next year will further validate laser IRCM for tactical applications, as well other large fixed-wing aircraft.''
The Navy's Electronic Warfare Advanced Technology (EWAT) office conducted the flight tests. Two TADIRCM subsystems - a two-color IR Missile Warning Subsystem (MWS) and Sanders' "Agile Eye'' IR Countermeasures Subsystem - were mounted on a cable car, which also included an IR source. During live-fire tests, infrared guided surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles were targeted and fired at the cable car. After system interoperability was demonstrated, the two subsystems combined to defeat both surface-to-air and air-to-air threats. During each engagement, jamming was rapid and decisive, and resulted in large miss distances.
The tests also demonstrated the first successful laser jamming of advanced air-to-air infrared guided missiles. In two separate firings, an advanced IR missile was launched from an F-15 at a distance of seven kilometers from the target. In each instance, TADIRCM identified and acquired the threat, and successfully defeated both air-to-air missiles causing them to strike the ground five kilometers from the target. Future testing will include sled tests at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., as well as several live missile shots against a QF-4 drone aircraft with TADIRCM installed.
Sanders is an operating company of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. In addition to aircraft self-protection systems, Sanders is a major producer of tactical surveillance and intelligence systems for all branches of the armed forces. Other major business areas include microwave, mission and space electronics, and automated mission planning systems.