We all know that the future in warfare is Lasers, and with the recent shut down of the Rail Gun project by the senate, this is possibly one of the only future weapons we can focus on right now. The army sent out a proposal a while back to the defense companies, like ITT, Lockheed, and Raytheon, to create a Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) System. Since high energy lasers are far too heavy to fly and shoot oncoming aircraft down, the defense companies have been building a set of smaller lasers that work on a more “passive” approach, the lasers disrupt and jam oncoming missiles, rather than destroy them.
Raytheon, the people that destroyed a UAV in midflight last year by cooking it, literally, unveiled its new technology at the Paris Air Show today. It already passed the military test at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with flying colors. They used a C-130 Hercules helicopter equipped with a turret they called “The Quiet Eyes Laser Turret Assembly” to direct a laser beam to disable oncoming missiles. Since Raytheon is using lightweight fiber lasers, they can go on any helicopter or light weight aircraft. Previously the Laser structure could only be installed on the CH-47 Chinook, but this new generation can be equipped down to a Bell AH-1Z Cobra.
This new CIRCM System uses a low-power laser to Jam Missiles using a few dozen watts, rather than the tens of thousands of watts needed to run the weapon they demonstrated last year. Also, according to Raytheon, this new weapon has a laser beam that can vary in Width, Output, Frequency, and Modulation, giving it a wide range of possibilities and different types of uses.
The Army expects to pick one up by late September, the contractor will have 21 months to test and demonstrate its technology and then if everything goes well, the Navy will adopt the Army’s Choice and the Air Force will follow after the Navy.