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Northrop Grumman is to produce illuminating flares for General Dynamics–Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS) for use in the US Army’s Tactical Aviation and Ground Munitions’ (TAGM) unguided HYDRA-70 rocket programme, the company announced on 3 June. The flares will provide greater tactical battlefield illumination in both visible and infrared (IR) spectra.

The five-year contract award is valued at up to $80 million (€66 million) and covers production of the M257 visible spectrum flare, the M278 IR spectrum illuminating flare and the newly-designed M278A1 IR spectrum illuminating flare.

For decades we have been an industry-leading provider of high-performance tactical illumination that soldiers rely on […] This technology greatly enhances target detection and identification by providing an artificial light that illuminates the battlefield using visible or infrared light,” explained Charlie Precourt, VP, Propulsion Systems.

HYDRA-70 illuminating flares can be fired from a variety of rotary and fixed-wing platforms, including APACHE and COBRA attack helicopters, and fixed-wing combat aircraft such as the F-16.    

Northrop Grumman has been providing illumination technology for 40 years, including the first HYDRA-70 illumination rounds, first patented in 1971. (Photo: Northrop Grumman)

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