The Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) and Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM) system integrates defensive infrared (IR) countermeasures capabilities into existing, current-generation aircraft to engage and defeat IR-guided missile threats.

The Army operational requirements concept for IR countermeasures systems is the Suite of Integrated Infrared Countermeasures (SIIRCM). The CMWS and ATIRCM programs form the core element of SIIRCM. CMWS can function as a stand-alone system with the capability to detect missiles and provide audible and visual warnings to pilots. When installed with the Advanced IRCM Munitions and improved countermeasure dispensers, it activates expendables to decoy and defeat IR-guided missiles.

ATIRCM protects crews and aircraft from advanced threat Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) until CIRCM is fielded.

The CIRCM program of record is entering Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) and is being developed to replace ATIRCM. CIRCM will be lighter weight and more reliable, and have more affordable lifecycle costs. It is also designed to operate with CMWS and future missile warning systems to provide protection for rotary-wing, tiltrotor and small fixed-wing aircraft across DoD.


MANPADS are proliferated worldwide and pose a strategic threat to all DoD rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft. Threat detection sensors are the first step in the detection-and-defeat engagement sequence. Improving sensor capability and exploiting new sensor technology translates into seeing the threat sooner and at greater distances, buying more time for the warfighter to successfully engage with an effective countermeasure solution. The combination of CIRCM and flares helps provide a tiered defense for DoD aircraft.


Threat detection systems:

  • CMWS detects threats in the ultraviolet spectrum, warns pilots and deploys flares to counter threat
  • The Laser Detection System detects laser-guided threats and warns pilots
  • The Radar Warning Receiver detects Radio Frequency (RF)-emitting and RF-guided threats, and warns pilots

Threat defeat systems:

  • CIRCM system, the next generation lightweight laser-based system, defeats IR-guided MANPAD threats
  • ATIRCM, the legacy laser-based infrared countermeasure system, is fielded only to the CH-47F fleet due to its size, weight and power requirements


  • 4QFY13: Integrated onto select fixed-wing platforms
  • Current: All aircraft deployed in support of contingency operations equipped with CMWS prior to deployment; now fielding Generation 3 Electronic Control Unit (ECU) and Missile Warning Algorithms for all aircraft



  • CIRCM: Milestone (MS) B Acquisition Decision Milestone signed and EMD contract awarded for the EMD phase effort
  • ATIRCM: Continue fielding to CH-47D/F; MS C re-approved; ATIRCM continues as the Army’s most advanced Aircraft Survivability Equipment system designed to protect Army aircrews from advanced MANPADS
  • CMWS: Continue fielding Generation 3 ECU
  • 2QFY18: CIRCM: MS C


CMWS: United Kingdom, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia


  • ATIRCM and CMWS: BAE Systems (Nashua, NH)
  • CIRCM: Northrop Grumman (Rolling Meadows, IL)
  • Logistics Support: LogiCore (Huntsville, AL)
  • Programmatic Support: Wyle’s CAS Group (Huntsville, AL)
  • System Engineering Support: Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) (Huntsville, AL)
  • Software Configuration Management Support: CGI Federal (Huntsville, AL), Wavelink (Huntsville, AL)
  • CMWS-GTRI E2E Data Analysis/SIL Development: Georgia Tech Applied Research Corp. (Atlanta, GA)
  • Test Support Data Analysis: Penta Research, Inc. (Huntsville, AL)
  • UH-60A/L P31 Upgrade: Rockwell Collins (Cedar Rapids, IA)
  • Engineering/Tech Production Support: Intuitive Research and Technology Corp. (Huntsville, AL)
  • Open Architecture Translator System (OATS): David H. Pollock Consultants (Eatontown, NJ)