Updated: C-MUSIC to Protect Israeli Airlines from Missile Attacks

C-MUSIC employs a fiber-laser based DIRCM element designed to defeat a wide range of MANPADS threats. This close-up photo shows the beam aiming mirror assembly directing the laser beam toward the target. Photo: Tamir Eeshel, defense Update

Offers Part of the development of active protection systems for platforms, Elbit systems is offering effective protection for military and commercial aircraft and helicopters, employing an affordable, highly effective fiber-laser based Directional Infra-Red Counter Measures (DIRCM). While DIRCM systems for large aircraft have been available on the market for several years, Elbit Systems’ Multi-Spectral Infrared Countermeasure (MUSIC) system is the first to the market offering compact, low-power affordable solution suitable for medium aircraft such as C-27J and Boeing 737 and 767 and helicopters of the UH-60, EH-101 and Mi-17 class. The Italian Air Force has already adapted a DIRCM solution from Elettronica, based on ELOP’s fiber laser. The commercial derivative of the system is also the first system to be certified and offered to commercial and government users, operating without restrictions from every airfield.

Elbit Systems’ Multi-Spectral Infrared Countermeasure (MUSIC) system. Credit: Assaf Shilo

The development of Commercial MUSIC (C-MUSIC) has reached an advanced stage at Elbit Systems’ ELOP, the company is highlighting the new system in a full-scale model, demonstrating the latest phase of the modular configuration, adapted for a wide range of commercial aircraft including Boeing 747, 777, and 737. “When C-MUSIC flys soon it will be the first active defense system certified for civil aviation. It will be relevant to commercial airliners, VIP aircraft and military transports, tankers and special mission aircraft flying from civilian airfields.” Adi Dar, General Manager, ELOP. “We intend to keep our competitive advantage and develop systems further, to meet customer operational requirements securing aircraft against evolving threats.” C-MUSIC has been selected by Israeli Ministry of Transportation to protect the entire Israeli commercial fleet. It includes certification to FAR-25 requirements by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI). Elbit Systems is now expanding its offering to the international market in a mission to assist in protecting large jet aircraft worldwide.

EL AL President & CEO Elyezer Shkedy, former IAF Commander in Chief, and Gideon Sheffer, Executive VP Strategic Planning & Business Development, Elbit Systems, briefing Shkedy on the new Commercial C-MUSIC missile countermeasures developed by Elbit. The systems are being acquired by Israel’s Ministry of Transportation for use on EL-AL passenger planes. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
C-MUSIC employs a fiber-laser based DIRCM element designed to defeat a wide range of MANPADS threats. This close-up photo shows the beam aiming mirror assembly directing the laser beam toward the target. Photo: Tamir Eeshel, defense Update

Unlike the MUSIC system, introduced into a military aircraft as an integrated system, C-MUSIC is self-contained in a pod, with the missile warning, signal processing, laser emitter, beam conductor, beam director, and cooling. The compact pod measures 2.7m in length, and is designed to snap on to the carrying aircraft belly. The pod operates as a stand-alone unit, with Infrared Passive Approach Warning System (PAWS) sensors developed by Elbit Systems’ Elisra subsidiary monitoring the surrounding area in search of potential threats. When missile warning is issued, PAWS tracks the threats and directs the DIRCM, employing a unique Fiber Laser emitter conducting the laser beam through a mirror turret, to illuminate and disrupt the threat’s guidance, altering its flight course off the protected aircraft.

Elbit Systems announced today the signature of supply order for the system’s first international customer – the Italian Air Force. The company has been awarded a contract valued in excess of $15 million by Elettronica S.p.A to supply MUSIC based elements for Elettronica’s ELT/572 DIRCM system destined for various platforms of the Italian Air Force, including the C130J, C27J and AW101. The contract will be performed over the next three years. The ELT/572 is based on MUSIC, its development was jointly funded by Elettronica and Elop under a cooperation agreements.

C-MUSIC is designed to protect large jet aircraft against man-portable heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles known as MANPADS. Based on MUSIC systems currently in use on helicopters and medium turbo prop fixed wing aircraft, C-MUSIC’s fiber-laser directed IR countermeasure (DIRCM) technology creates a laser beam that is directed towards the tracked missile, effectively defeating the incoming threat. Modified specifically for the stringent demands of commercial aviation, C-MUSIC can be tailored to jet aircraft of all sizes and its fully automatic operation has no impact the flight crew workload. An airline can prepare all its aircraft to carry the system and rotate C-MUSIC through specific aircraft according to relevant threat assessment.