Northrop and the US Air National Guard’s 190th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), have completed the first round of flight testing the Guardian anti-missile technology onboard a KC-135 air refuelling aircraft.

The Guardian system is an advanced laser-based missile protection system, designed to protect aircraft, crew and passengers from advanced man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS).

The system is equipped with a multiband laser pointer / tracker and an ultraviolet missile warning sensor to detect and disrupt launched missiles’ guidance signals.

The system will also undergo operational utility evaluation (OUE) activities scheduled through the second quarter of 2011 and include additional flights and system tests at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, US.

Northrop land and self-protection systems division vice-president of infrared countermeasures Carl Smith said the flight trial has proved the system’s hardware and is ready for full rate production.

The 190th is a ARW assigned to the US Air Force Air Mobility Command and flies the KC-135 air refuelling aircraft in support of worldwide aerial refuelling missions.