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Northrop Grumman wins $151M infrared defense deal with USAF

18 Jun 2020

To provide LAIRCM anti-missile systems and upgrades, modifications for wide range of military aircraft.

Military and aerospace technology giant Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $151.3 million order to provide Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (LAIRCM) systems and support to the US Air Force.

The award was received as part of an existing indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract.

“Northrop Grumman has been providing infrared threat protection to the US Air Force for nearly two decades,” commented Bob Gough, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, at Northrop Grumman. “This order helps us to continue providing upgrades, modifications and production installations on numerous aircraft.”

The LAIRCM system defends domestic and international aircrews by detecting, tracking and jamming incoming infrared threats. The system automatically counters advanced infrared missile systems by directing a high-intensity laser beam into the missile seeker. Under this latest order, Northrop Grumman will provide systems to support upgrades, modifications and production installations on a number of aircraft including the C-17, HC/MC-130J, KC-46, P-8, CH-53K, C-37 and head of state aircraft.

Northrop Grumman’s IRCM systems

In 1961, Northrop Grumman engineers first developed an active onboard IRCM system capable of defeating an air-to-air, heat-seeking missile. On its website, the company states, “Today, our directional IRCM laser-based systems protect more than 1,500 aircraft, including large and small fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and tilt-rotor platforms.

NG’s AN/AAQ-24(V) DIRCM system is claimed to be the only DIRCM system in production that will protect aircraft from today's infrared guided missiles.

The company adds, “Traditional IR countermeasures are not effective against the modern IR-guided missiles. A Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) system is required to defeat the latest and future advanced IR threats, and has a lower life cycle cost compared to other IR countermeasure approaches.”

• On May 19th, optics.org reported that BAE Systems had won a $27M contract to fit its Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures infrared defense systems onto US Navy transport and refuelling aircraft.

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