The MUSIC family of Directed Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) systems was demonstrated recently at the annual, multinational EMBOW exercise held at the Bundeswehr WTD91 test site in Meppen, Germany last month. The annual exercise evaluates different capabilities to protect aircraft against Man Portable Air Defense missile threats (MANPADS).

Elbit Systems JMUSIC DIRCM and PAWS EW systems. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
Elbit Systems JMUSIC DIRCM and PAWS EW systems. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
The exercise is conducted under live and monitored and instrumented conditions, by the NATO 3rd NAFAG Air Capability Group SG/2, enabling pilots and engineers to evaluate the capability of aircraft and countermeasures to defeat infrared-guided surface-to-air missiles, from basic Manpads to more advanced surface to air short-range systems (SHORADS).

As part of the 2015 exercise the Israeli MUSIC DIRCM system was tested, utilizing an operational system integrated on an Airbus C295 aircraft, along with the Passive Airborne Warning System (PAWS) IR-based missile warning system, both systems are made by Elbit Systems.

During the tests, conducted by a multi-national NATO team, a C295 aircraft with an operationally installed EW self-protection suite successfully demonstrated the capability to detect, acquire, track and jam the trial test equipment on the ground, under extreme conditions. According to the system developers, the initial assessment of the results highlighted that the system has the capability to successfully jam MANPADS (infra- red, ground to air heat seeking Man-Portable Missiles) from the first, second and third generation, using generic NATO jam codes.

The demonstration was a joint project of Elbit Systems and Airbus Defence & Space (Spain). It was widely supported by the Israeli MoD, the Spanish Air Force and NAFAG ACG3 SG/2 (NATO Air Forces Armaments Group, Air Capability Group 3, Sub Group 2), which is the NATO group responsible for the development and validation of air platform protection solutions.

Elbit Systems’ MUSIC family of DIRCM systems integrate an advanced fiber laser technology together with a high rate thermal tracking camera and a small, highly dynamic mirror turret to provide effective, reliable and affordable protection to all types of aircraft and under all operational conditions.

The PAWS family of combat proven missile warning systems uses IR to reliably and rapidly detect the most advanced threats in all flight conditions.

Elbit Systems is currently under contract to supply more than 110 DIRCM systems to over ten customers, for installation on 20 different fixed and rotary-wing platform types.

The MUSIC family of DIRCMs have been extensively and successfully tested by various countries and are in full scale production for several NATO customers, including Germany and Italy. In Brazil, Israel and other countries the MUSIC systems are integrated on military, VIP and commercial helicopters and other fixed-wing aircraft. The systems are also fully operational with Israel’s commercial aviation fleet, protecting commuter jet aircraft serving domestic and international destinations.