The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of two separate potential foreign military sales (FMS) of AN/AAQ-24(V) large aircraft infrared countermeasures (LAIRCM) systems and related equipment to Qatar and Oman.
Under the estimated $110m and $100m sales, Qatar and Oman have requested two AN/AAQ-24(V) LAIRCM systems, along with 11 small laser transmitter assemblies, three system processors / repeaters, 14 AN/AAR-54 missile warning sensors, and user data module cards and control interface units.
A multi-role electro-optic end-to-end test set was also sought, as well as card memory, smart cards, support equipment, consumables, flight test / certification, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, and other related elements of logistics and programme support services.
The LAIRCM systems purchased by Qatar will be installed on its B747-800 aircraft, while those acquired by Oman will be mounted on B747-400 and B747-800 aircraft respectively, to boost protection against missile threats.
The potential sales contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the US, and enhance the security of Qatar and Oman, which continues to be important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle Eastern region.
Northrop Grumman will serve as the prime contractor for both FMS programmes.
Developed from the AN/AAQ-24(V) NEMESIS, the AN/AAQ-24(v) LAIRCM is a directed infrared (IR) countermeasures system designed to safeguard large transport and rotary-wing aircraft from IR-guided missile threats by confusing its guidance system without requiring input from the aircrew.
The fully autonomous system provides automatic protection for aircraft against shoulder-fired, vehicle-launched, and other IR-guided missiles during normal take-off and landing, assault landings, tactical descents, air drops, low-level flight, and aerial refuelling missions.
The system has been selected for installation onboard the US Air Force's C-5B, C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster and MC-130H Talon, as well as the Royal Australian Air Force's A330 tanker and 737 AEW&C aircraft.
Image: Boeing 747-400 aircraft is used by Qatar for government transport missions. Photo: Courtesy of rob starling.