Leonardo DRS to provide additional Advanced Laser Systems to protect U.S. Military Aircraft from Missile Threats

Arlington, VA  10 June 2024 16:00

Leonardo DRS, Inc. announced today that it has received another full-rate production contract to supply its industry-leading Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) technology to enable Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) systems for critical military aircraft protection. The award from Northrop Grumman continues the collaboration between the two companies on this QCL capability that provides advanced protection against current, evolving, and proliferating missile threats to U.S. military aircraft.

CIRCM is a fifth-generation, laser-based infrared countermeasure system designed to track and defeat incoming missiles. At its core, the DRS QCL technology enables CIRCM to defeat incoming missiles with an unlimited number of rounds. Its reduced weight and increased power with a powerful laser system protect current and future U.S. Army rotary-wing aircraft. CIRCM recently reached a major milestone of Initial Operational Capability with U.S. Army aircraft, positioning the system for accelerated fielding on more than 1,500 helicopters.

The DRS QCLs are commercial off-the-shelf, lightweight, and powerful multi-color laser systems. They deliver best-in-class performance for aircraft survivability against missile threats and are designed to enable new or upgraded capabilities in a range of other military uses. The technology is a core part of DRS’s capabilities that are aligned with some of the most critical programs of the U.S. Department of Defense, and allied nations.

“We are proud to continue to provide this critical technology to Northrop Grumman to ensure the survivability of our flight crews from surface-to-air missile threats,” said Dr. Timothy Day, senior vice president and general manager of the DRS Daylight Solutions business unit. “Our ground-breaking quantum cascade laser technology represents the ultimate choice for aircraft survivability. As missile and other anti-aircraft threats continue to evolve and proliferate around the world, frontline helicopters will require capable systems like CIRCM to defeat these threats,” he said.

Laser technology and electro-optical and infrared sensing is a key strategic focus for Leonardo DRS as the company brings together its world-leading sensing and laser technologies to provide defensive protective systems for the U.S. armed forces and allied militaries around the world.