The biggest threat to U.S. military helicopters flying in combat zones today is heat-seeking missiles. The missiles have proliferated worldwide to a point where U.S. warfighters must assume enemies will have them, and newer versions are able to distinguish between real targets and simple countermeasures such as flares. So the Army is about to award a contract to either BAE Systems or Northrop Grumman that will provide lightweight laser defenses against heat-seeking missiles for all rotorcraft in the joint fleet plus smaller military aircraft. The program is called Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM), and it is one of a handful of new starts that will define the future landscape of the military-electronics business. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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