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Suite of Infrared Countermeasures [SIIRCM]

AN/ALQ-212 Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM)
AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System (CMWS)


The ATIRCM/CMWS design is modular to allow multiple configurations on a wide range of aircraft and other vehicles. In January 1995 USD (A&T) approved the merger of the Army ATIRCM program with the Navy/Air Force Advanced Missile Warning System (AMWS) program. The lead US military services' host platforms were: the MH-60K (Army), the AV-8BN (Navy), and the F-16 Block 40 - Close Air Support (Air Force) aircraft. An integrated product team (IPT) was formed in June 1995 to produce a tri-service approved ORD and an IPT coordinated TEMP in support of a fourth quarter FY95 Milestone II decision. The Services merged two separate acquisition programs into one Joint program to eliminate duplicate development efforts and lower the Department of Defense life cycle costs of aircraft electronic warfare systems. The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology endorsed the merger, directed Acquisition Category IC status, authorized a Milestone II decision based on existing documentation, and waived all but statutory documentation requirements until Milestone III.

The program entered EMD in September 1995. The IPT, formed in June 1995, produced a "fully coordinated" TEMP in late December 1995 which was immediately approved by both DTSE&E and DOT&E upon submission to OSD in April 1996. After expanding the EMD Critical Design Review process, delays in initial EMD hardware/software production, and adjusting detailed T&E planning, the Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) schedule was approved in June 1997, moving the MS-III objective/threshold from FEB00/AUG00 to MAR01/SEP01. The ORD was changed in FY97 to include a more realistic threshold to objective range for ATIRCM effectiveness. The Joint Program Office (JPO) was relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to Huntsville, Alabama during fourth quarter FY97 as part of a BRAC move of the Army Aviation Electronic Combat Project Office (PM-AEC). The JPO move resulted in vacancy, gaps, or rapid turnover in several key project management positions.

The aggressive continuum of modeling and simulation (M&S) intended to support the system development, hardware (and software) in the loop (HITL) testing, open air range testing, installed equipment testing, operational evaluation of the system, and ultimately the life cycle maintenance of the system, had been dependent on the Test and Measurement (T&M) program that had been ongoing since June 1996.

While supporting system development, some aspects of the M&S effort were also dependent on the prime contractor's system design process and hardware deliveries. The T&M, conducted in and around Sander's Nashua, New Hampshire facilities, at Eglin Air Force Base, and at White Sands Missile Range, continued to gather both instrumented ground truth and prototype sensor views of environmental, threat, and false alarm data. T&M collection events planned in late FY97 were canceled due to CMWS sensor availability and cost of the T&M effort. Some multi-spectral test and evaluation limitations could only be overcome through iterative (i.e., model, test, model) modeling and simulation in conjunction with DT/OT events in order to construct and validate an end to end operational evaluation environment. The approved TEMP T&E concept for the CMWS included a sensor in the loop HITL capability.

$2.5M of program funds were budgeted for that purpose. Beginning in late FY96, the program conducted a $250,000 effort to survey existing HITL capabilities. Proposals to upgrade an existing facility to this capability were reviewed. After consultation with OUSD(A&T)/S&TS-EW, the PM concluded that the sensor HITL schedule, cost, and technical risk to the ATIRCM/CMWS program was unacceptable. DOT&E insisted that the approved T&E concept for the CMWS was dependent on a sensor HITL, and that this HITL could not be eliminated unless some adequate alternative is articulated in a TEMP update with DOT&E approval. Continuing dialogue in first quarter FY98 resulted in a renewed commitment from the PM to develop the CMWS sensor HITL. This was further facilitated by a commitment from the Air Force Test and Evaluation Executive to fund the $600K of HITL cost which is in excess of the original budget set aside by the PM for this resource.

A TEMP update was begun in early FY97 to reflect the APB schedule changes and the proposed addition of a CMWS LRIP to the approved acquisition strategy. This TEMP update effort was re-scoped to include high priority changes to the program as of first quarter FY98. Specifically:

  • Plans for developing the CMWS sensor HITL.
  • Addition of both CMWS, and ATIRCM, LRIPs to the acquisition strategy.
  • Resolution of the programs funding and schedule with adequately resourced T&E.

Responding to DOT&E and AFOTEC concerns, the PM agreed to proceed with CMWS sensor HITL development. Since this was a unique capability, with moderate technical and schedule risk, which was being developed for the first time, the plan followed a risk mitigating incremental approach.

T&E planning was in progress for completion of a combined DT/OT phase, and a resulting Operational Assessment, to support the acquisition decision maker prior to the proposed LRIP decisions.

As of October 1998, the JPO identified a substantial FY98 funding shortfall and has moved to delay several key program events into subsequent years for funding, and also to reduce the T&E resource requirements which were approved in the MS-II TEMP. In addition, contractor delays to complete the system design and initial EMD hardware deliveries, resulted in the early FY97 program re-baseline which extended the MS-III by thirteen months. Continued delivery delays after the re-baseline have contributed to delays in completing early T&E related events. Most notably this had contributed to delays in development of the necessary and challenging modeling and simulation. Aircraft integration schedules were also major T&E drivers potentially at risk due to EMD delivery performance.

The DUSA(OR) and Army OPTEC have assumed an increased leadership role with the Joint T&E community, and along with the newly formed JPO are driving the production of the needed TEMP update for approval by DOT&E.

The first fully-integrated development model of the Tri-Service AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) and the AN/ALQ-212 Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures/Common Missile Warning System (ATIRCM/CMWS) were successfully demonstrated by the Sanders [Lockheed Martin] program team at on 13 April 1998.

At its peak in 1998, the total program cost was projected at $3 billion. Delays and cost increases beset ATIRCM, and in 1999 DOD again studied the Nemesis as an alternative. DoD decided to stay with ATIRCM, but the Navy and Air Force backed out. Plans called for ATIRCM production for over 1,000 Army helicopters. For the Army only, the ATIRCM/CMWS was planned and funded for follow-on installation on the MH-47E, MH-60L, MH-47D, AH-64D, EH/UH-60, and CH-47D aircraft. For all three military services, the CMWS was planned and funded for follow-on installation on the OH-58D, F/A-18E/F, and A-10 aircraft.

ATIRCM/CMWS was being developed at Sanders under a September 1995 Engineering and Manufacturing Development contract to develop and produce a common missile warning system for US Army, Navy and Air Force aircraft and the next-generation directable, laser-based countermeasures system for protection of aircraft against heat-seeking missile threats. Sanders was under contract to provide seven complete ATIRCM systems and 50 CMWS systems by March 1999. A Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) program was planned to begin in the year 2000.

In late 2001, as part of the FY03-FY07 Five Year Defense Program's Program Objective Memorandum (POM), the Army cancelled a total of 19 programs, including the Raytheon Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wireless Fire and Forget missile, the BAE Systems Advanced Tactical Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM), the General Dynamics Hydra rocket, the United Defense, L.P. M113 armored personnel carrier recapitalization, and the Tank Extended-Range Munition (TERM).

The first platforms excepted to reciever the ATIRCM were the MH-60K and MH-47E Special Operations helicopters, then AH-64 Apaches, and only later the UH-60(X), EH-60, CH-47D, and RAH-66 Comanche. The Comanche was later canceled.

The BAE Systems-developed Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) sensor would be installed on various US Army helicopters. BAE Systems Information & Electronic Warfare Systems (IEWS) delivered its initial AN/AAR-57(V) Common Missile Warning System on 16 September 2002 to the US Army during special ceremonies at its South Nashua, New Hampshire, facility. The delivery was part of a March 2002 contract awarded to BAE Systems to manufacture 26 of the advanced missile warning systems to support Operation Enduring Freedom.

The CMWS was the first phase of equipping Army aircraft with BAE Systems' AN/ALQ-212(V) Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM) system which also included a combined laser and lamp directable infrared missile jammer. The CMWS, combined with the ATIRCM system and the Advanced IR Countermeasures Munitions (AIRCMM) flares, were the primary components of the US Army's Suite of Integrated Infrared Countermeasures (SIIRCM).

During FY04, the Army planned to award a limited production contract for 59 ATIRCM systems. The Army planned to buy a total of 619 systems beginning in FY05. The Army would not field any of these ATIRCM systems until the successful completion of the FY04 DT/OT tests and the FY05 IOT&E.

According to the DOT&E, the ATIRCM/CMWS had demonstrated adequate performance to date. The tests had shown the need to modify the software for certain operational conditions and these modifications need to be re-evaluated during subsequent testing, especially with live fire shots at the aerial cable facility. The redesigned jam head has performed satisfactorily in the contractor tests to date.

During the FY01 tests, the IR jammer experienced a number of reliability problems, requiring some significant mechanical redesign. The redesign was completed and the contractor environmental tests had shown satisfactory progress. The redesigned units would enter into a 1,100-hour RDT in July FY04 as part of the DT/OT. Also during the FY01 tests, the built-in test performed unsatisfactorily. The built-in test has since been redesigned and was tested during the Logistics Demonstration scheduled for FY04.

In June 2005, it was determined that the Army's Advanced Technology Infrared Countermeasure (ATIRCM) was not meeting all of it's performance requirements within the curent schedule, resulting in a program deviation report. In December 2005, the Army revised their ATIRCM acquisition strategy which delayed future ATIRCM spirals until 2010.

A review of the ATIRCM/CMWS program was conducted as part of a larger Government Accountability Office report in March 2007. The GAO noted that the program's five critical technologies were considered mature until a government/industry team downgraded the maturity level of the infrared jamming head due to technical issues. Additionally, the other four technologies did not mature until after the design review. Most of the early technology development effort focused on the application to rotary wing aircraft. When system development began in 1995, requirements were expanded to include Navy and Air Force fixed-wing aircraft. This change caused problems that contributed to cost increases of over 150 percent. The Navy and the Air Force subsequently dropped out of the program, but the Navy and the Army were still pursuing future joint production planning.

The GAO reported that according to program officials, the program had 26 key manufacturing processes in various phases of control. The CMWS production portion of the system had stabilized and benefited from increased production rates. Also, processes supporting both ATIRCM and CMWS continued to be enhanced as data was gathered and lessons learned were included in the processes.

The Army entered limited CMWS production in February 2002 to meet an urgent need. Subsequently, full rate production was delayed for both components due to reliability testing failures. The program implemented reliability fixes to six production representative subsystems for use in initial operational test and evaluation. These systems were delivered in March 2004. The full-rateproduction decision for the complete system was delayed until June 2011 due to ATIRCM performance issues.

The Army used the airframe as the acquisition quantity unit of measure even though it was not buying an ATIRCM/CMWS system for each aircraft according to the GAO. When the program began, plans called for putting an ATIRCM/CMWS on each aircraft. Due to funding constraints, the Army reduced the number of systems to be procured and will rotate the systems to aircraft as needed. The Army was buying kits for each aircraft, which included the modification hardware, wiring harness, and cables necessary to install and interface the ATIRCM/CMWS to each platform. In May 2006, the quantity of ATIRCM/CMWS systems was increased from 1,710 to 2,752, and kits to use for aircraft integration was increased from 3,571 to 4,393. However, a new cost estimate for the additional systems had not been completed. Based on the number of systems before the May 2006 increase, the true unit procurement cost for each ATIRCM/CMWS system was more on the order of $2.95 million.

In reponse to the GAO report, the Army stated that the ATIRCM/CMWS program continued to focus efforts on the Global War on Terrorism force protection requirements. In response to an Acting Secretary of the Army November 2003 memo to equip all Army helicopters to be deployed to the war zone with the most cost-effective defensive systems, the program office proposed accelerating the CMWS portion of ATIRCM. In July 2006, the CMWS was provided to each deployed aircraft with CMWS installation kits. These accelerated efforts provided the CMWS ahead of the planned schedule (February 2007). CMWS initial operational test and evaluation and full-rate production decision events were successfully completed during this reporting period.

The Army also stated that the ATIRCM funding was utilized to maintain the CMWS acceleration due to delays in receipt of reprogramming funding. The rebaselined ATIRCM program efforts were continuing, with initial operational test and evaluation planned for November 2009. This rebaselined plan was presented and approved by the Army Acquisition Executive in December 2005.

A March 2008 report by the GAO listed the ATIRCM portion of the program as in low-rate production and the CMWS portion in full-rate production. The technologies for CMWS were mature and the design stable. The program's production processes were at various levels of control. The GAO noted that over the past several years, the program had to overcome cost and schedule problems brought on by shortfalls in knowledge. Key technologies were demonstrated late in development, and only a small number of design drawings were completed by the design review.

The GAO reported that as of March 2008, all five critical technologies were considered mature. Four of the critical technologies did not mature until after the design review in February 1997. Although the infrared jam head was considered mature, it still had reliability problems. A reliability test was to have been conducted in November 2007 to determine if problems were resolved.

Due to funding constraints, the Army reduced the number of systems to be procured and would rotate the systems to aircraft as needed. The Army, as of March 2008, was buying kits for each aircraft, which included the modification hardware, wiring harness, and cables necessary to install and interface the ATIRCM/CMWS to each platform. Previously, the approved program was for 1,710 ATIRCMs. However, in May 2007, the Army reduced the number of ATIRCMs to 1,076 after a comprehensive requirements review. The subsequent approved program was for 1,076 ATIRCMs, 1,710 CMWSs, and 3,571 kits to use for aircraft integration. However, the Army acquisition objective for planning purposes was for a quantity of 2,332 ATIRCMs, 2,752 CMWSs, and 4,393 kits. To determine the acquisition objective, the US Army Aviation Warfighting Center looked at each aircraft and determined aircraft survivability equipment suites based on aircraft missions. According to a program official, a new cost estimate for the additional systems had not yet been completed because the new quantity has not been approved.

The ATIRCM/CMWS program focused efforts on Global War on Terrorism force protection requirements. In response to a November 2003 memo from the Acting Secretary of the Army to equip all Army helicopters deployed to combat theaters with the most effective defensive systems, the program office accelerated the CMWS portion. These accelerated efforts provided the CMWS ahead of the planned schedule (February 2007). CMWS Initial Operational Test and Evaluation and full-rate production decision events were successfully completed during the reporting period between the March 2007 and March 2008 GAO reports.

Due to delays in receipt of reprogramming funding, funds intended for the ATIRCM program were utilized to maintain the CMWS acceleration. The rebaselined ATIRCM program efforts continued, with Initial Operational Test and Evaluation planned for November 2009. This rebaselined plan was presented and approved by the Army Acquisition Executive in December 2005.

Army ACAT 1C Program
2607 systems
Total program cost (TY$) $2430.6M
Average unit cost (TY$)
Full-rate production 3QFY01

Prime Contractor
SANDERS, A Lockheed Martin Company
Major Subcontractor
(CMWS - sensors)
Lockheed Martin Infrared Imaging Systems (LMIRIS)
Group A Contractors
Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft
Northrop Grumman

AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System
Program Office Manning4937
Military Standards and Specifications Used600
Statement of Work Pages190100
Contract Data Requirements (CDRL's)12159
Projected Average Unit Price$253K$191K
Number of Platforms (Applicability)3 (AF)12+
Projected Program Cost Avoidance$0$208K

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:37:47 ZULU