Northrop Grumman has unveiled a new repair and maintenance facility for the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) laser-based large aircraft infrared countermeasures (LAIRCM) systems.
Located at RAAF Edinburgh base in South Australia, the facility will provide in-country support services for the repair and maintenance of LAIRCM systems.
The company opened the facility as part of a collaboration with the RAAF and Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group.
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems land and avionics C4ISR division vice-president and general manager Mary Petryszyn said: “Nearly 16 years ago, the RAAF became the first international customer for our laser-based infrared countermeasures system.
“This facility will contribute to our customers’ continued mission success, significantly broaden our maintenance capabilities and reduce repair times by up to 50%. This increases the availability of major RAAF platforms and systems because we are now able to do the work directly in Australia with a local Australian workforce.”
The Northrop Grumman-built LAIRCM system has been designed to automatically detect a missile launched at an aircraft, determine if it is a threat and activate a high-intensity laser-based countermeasure system to track and defeat the missile.
Northrop Grumman Australia chief executive Ian Irving said: “The ability to sustain key systems and capabilities such as these in Australia is an important sovereign capability, resulting in the development of new high technology skill sets, as well as reduced handling and turnaround time on servicing, repairs and upgrades.”
The LAIRCM systems are currently installed on six RAAF aircraft types and 57 aircraft in total, with plans to add three additional platforms in the next five years.
Said to be the only such system currently in high-rate production, LAIRCM systems are either installed or scheduled for installation on more than 1,500 military aircraft across the world to protect more than 75 different large fixed-wing transports and small rotary-wing platforms from infrared missile attacks.
Image: Northrop Grumman opens Australian support facility in Adelaide, Australia. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corporation.