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Northrop Grumman Successfully CompletesMissile Engagement Test of Laser-Based DIRCM



ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill.--- Northrop Grumman Corporation's Electronic Sensors and Systems sector (ES3) has successfully completed live fire tests of an advanced, laser-based, directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system, the Wanda/Viper Multi-Imaging Multi-Spectral (MIMS) configuration.
The tests were conducted between Sept. 30 and Oct. 22, 1999 at the U.S. Army's White Sands, N.M., Missile Range. Data confirm that the system met and exceeded all expectations.

The Wanda/Viper/MIMS system was mounted on a cable car equipped with heat sources representing a military aircraft signature used as a target for surface-to-air and air-to-air infrared guided missiles. The tests were part of a U.S. Navy-sponsored Tactical Aircraft Directed Infrared Countermeasures (TADIRCM) Advanced Technology Demonstrator (ATD) program intended to demonstrate the feasibility of providing IRCM protection for tactical aircraft.

"These live-fire tests confirmed the effectiveness of our next-generation DIRCM components,'' said Bill Brackney, vice president and general manager- Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division. "Our laser-only system, which includes the Wanda jam-head, the Viper solid state laser and the MIMS two-color infrared missile warning sensor, performed well, detecting missile launches and defeating incoming missiles.''

Wanda, internally developed by Defensive Systems Division in Rolling Meadows, Ill., is a compact, low drag, pointer/tracker that protrudes as little as 3-1/2 inches into the airstream around the host platform and is specifically designed for laser-based IRCM protection.

The Viper multi-band laser, developed in conjunction with Fibertek, Inc., of Herndon, Va., is designed to produce multiple laser lines in the mid-IR spectrum. Viper is packaged in a two-inch thick case, weighing less than 10 pounds, and is designed for operation with all existing production configurations of the Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-24(V) DIRCM system as well as the Wanda advanced prototype DIRCM system.
The MIMS two-color infrared missile warning sensor, also developed by the Defensive Systems Division, utilizes distinctive features of missile infrared signatures to detect missile launches at ranges significantly in excess of current ultraviolet-based passive warning technology.

For these tests, missile launches were conducted to demonstrate the IRCM system functions: acquisition, declaration, hand-off, tracking and jamming. This advanced DIRCM operated as an autonomous system without prior knowledge of when and where missiles would be fired.

In 20 valid launches, at ranges to 16 kilometers, the missile warning system detected, declared and handed-off to the Wanda tracker, which continued to track the threats throughout the engagement. The system successfully jammed two different missile types originally scheduled for launch from three kilometers. The impressive system performance prompted scheduling two additional launches from 4.7 kilometers. These were also successfully defeated.

Similar to the AN/AAQ-24(V) DIRCM system, which has also successfully undergone live fire testing at White Sands Missile Range and is now in production, the new Wanda/Viper/MIMS system employs a "generic'' jam code for use against a wide range of missiles.

Northrop Grumman's Electronic Sensors and Systems sector, headquartered in Baltimore, Md., is a world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of defense electronics and systems, precision weapons, airspace management systems, space systems, marine systems, and automation and information systems.

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Northrop Grumman Successfully CompletesMissile Engagement Test of Laser-Based DIRCM