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Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munition (AIRCMM)
M211 and M212 Aircraft Countermeasure Flares

The AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser System Payload Modules are capable of being loaded with 3 types of expendables: XM211, XM212, and M206. They use either the M796 or BBU-35/B cartridge.

The Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munition (AIRCMM) program consists of two new improved aircraft Infrared (IR) countermeasure decoys. They are designated as the M211 and M212 Aircraft Countermeasure Flares and supplement the M206 Aircraft Countermeasure Flare currently utilized by Army Aircraft. The new decoys were developed under the Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munition (AIRCMM) program as a part of the Suite of Integrated Infrared Countermeasures (SIIRCM). The AIRCMM is being developed for low flying, slow moving rotary wing aircraft and is one of two major United States Department of Defense IR decoy development programs. The AIRCMM solution consists of using these three flares in a timing and sequence that has been optimized, through flight-testing and computer simulations, to decoy the threats. These flares when combined have proven to drastically increase the survivability of aircraft and aircrew employing it during missions over hostile areas.

The AIRCMM program is considered essential to provide Army Aircraft protection against advanced air-to-air and surface-to-air IR weapon systems. The advances and technological breakthroughs in the development of improved and smarter target acquisition systems have made it necessary to continuously develop new countermeasure systems to assure the survivability of aircraft and crews in their designated mission environment. Advanced IR threats that have decoy counter-countermeasures have been developed and fielded. These improvements in anti-aircraft systems required the development of the AIRCMM. Simple improvement of the existing M206 was considered but found to be ineffective since a new decoy configuration and chemical composition are required to attain similarity between the aircraft signature and the flare signature.

Flare, Aircraft: Countermeasure, XM211 is an infrared decoy cartridge to be used with any aircraft dispenser system capable of firing the M206 flare. The XM211 flare is not a substitute for the M206. This flare is dispensed from aircraft to decoy infrared seeking missile threats away from the aircraft. The XM211 flare consists of an aluminum case which contains a receptacle (squib cup) for an impulse cartridge, a piston, and a payload of stacked advanced material foil elements, which are pyrophoric (reacts with air). The flare is approximately 8" long and has a cross section of 1" X 1", and weighs approximately 2/3 pound. Nomenclature and part number are printed on the flare. Later configurations of the flare may contain a decal located at the squib end. The impulse cartridge receives a firing signal from the aircraft's on-board deployment system. Once the firing signal is received, expanding hot gases from the impulse cartridge eject the highly air-reactive payload from the cartridge case into the air stream.

Flare, Aircraft: Countermeasure, XM212 is an infrared decoy cartridge to be used with any aircraft dispenser system capable of firing the M206 flare. The XM212 flare is not a substitute for the M206. This flare is dispensed from aircraft to decoy infrared seeking missile threats away from the aircraft. The XM212 flare consists of an aluminum case which contains a piston, a Safe and Initiation (S&I) device, and a flare pellet grain assembly. The flare is approximately 8" long and has a cross section of 1" X 1", and weighs approximately 1/2 pound. Nomenclature and part number are printed on the flare. Later configurations of the flare may contain a decal located at the squib end. The impulse cartridge receives a firing signal from the aircraft's on-board deployment system. Once the firing signal is received, expanding hot gases from the impulse cartridge simultaneously ignite the S&I device and expel the flare out of the case and into the slipstream. When the flare exits the case, the S&I device ignites the flare pellet.

The AIRCMM can be dispensed by the existing M130 dispenser as well as the Improved Countermeasures Dispenser (ICMD) being developed for the Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasure (ATIRCM) program. The AIRCMM solution will be used on the Black Hawk, Chinook and Apache Aircraft. The AIRCMM program is managed and funded by the Project Manager, Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures/Common Missile Warning Systems (PM-ATIRCM/CMWS) located in Huntsville, AL. The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), Warheads, Energetic & Combat-support Armaments Center, Pyro Systems Branch is the material developer and technical advisor to the design contractor jointly with PM-ATIRCM/CMWS. Both AIRCMM and ATIRCM are improvement programs for Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE) systems being developed under the Suite of Integrated Infrared Countermeasures (SIIRCM) program. The AIRCMM is the countermeasure munition that will be used in the ATIRCM package. The Operational Requirements Document (ORD) for SIIRCM, dated 15 Sep 95 is utilized for the AIRCMM.

Some key accomplishments during the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (E&MD) Phase were :

  • The program successfully completed the Critical Design Review and conducted environmental qualification tests Jan '99 - Mar '99.
  • A new composition was developed that closely matches the aircraft signature in the missile IR tracking bands. This composition does not use magnesium as in the currently fielded countermeasure flares.
  • A contractor qualification test of the final design has recently been conducted jointly with the Air Force and excellent results were obtained, with the ORD effectiveness requirements being exceeded. The AF is evaluating the AIRCMM solution for use in transport and cargo aircraft such as the C-130 and C-17.
  • Participated in the OSD (Office of the Test Director, Precision Guided Weapons Countermeasures Test and Evaluation Directorate) IR Band IV Joint Test and Evaluation Program. This program consisted of captive seeker testing of fielded and developmental countermeasures in all of the services. The captive seeker tests were followed by live fire missile tests launched at a helicopter hulk mounted on a cable and QF-104 drones.

The AIRCMM was the only developmental design selected by OTD for the live fire tests because of its outstanding performance in the captive seeker tests as well as in computer simulations. Excellent results were obtained in the live fire.

In early 2003 the US Army type classified the M211 and M212 Aircraft Countermeasure Flares to enhance aircraft survivability against the most sophisticated IR guided missiles in the field. The AIRCMM solution has been utilized in the field on MH-47 and MH-60 Helicopters by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment since early 2000. An Urgent Material Release to the 101st Airborne Division was completed in January. The M211 and M212 flares were used to protect aircraft during combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The aircrews reported the countermeasures were effective in defeating multiple missiles fired at them.

The Air Force has adopted the AIRCMM solution for use on the HH-60 Combat Search and Rescue helicopters and were first used during Operation Northern Watch. The HH-60 dispensers have been upgraded and reoriented to the optimized angle. The Air Force has also begun use of the M211 Flare on C-130 Transports as well as AFSOC AC-130 Spectre Gun Ships.




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