January 31, 2013
On Thursday, Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC ) announced that it has delivered to the U.S. Army its first (of eight planned) Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM ) missile defense system -- two months ahead of schedule.
CIRCM, like Northrop's earlier-developed Guardian system, is an aircraft-mounted anti-surface-to-air missile system that uses laser beams to disable incoming missiles. However, whereas Guardian was developed to defend commercial aircraft against SAMs (specifically, against man-portable air defense systems, or MANPADS), CIRCM was designed primarily to protect smaller and slower-moving helicopters.
Northrop is developing CIRCM pursuant to a $31.4 million Technology Demonstration contract awarded it by the U.S. Army back in February 2012. The company recently completed acceptance testing with the Army ahead of schedule, resulting in early acceptance, and the early "delivery" of the product. It now enters into the next stage -- reliability testing.