LAIRCM system

Northrop Grumman has secured a contract to provide support services for the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) large aircraft infrared countermeasures (LAIRCM) systems.

Under the $120m contract, the company will supply a range of support services, including repair, engineering sustainment, logistics and training services to the MoD.

Northrop Grumman Land and Self Protection Systems Division infrared countermeasures vice-president Carl Smith said the company has been collaborating with the MoD to safeguard military aircrews against infrared-guided missiles for the past 20 years.

"With this award, we continue that long-standing relationship and reaffirm our commitment to maintaining a world-class technical support capability in the UK," Smith said.

LAIRCM is a directed infrared (IR) countermeasures system designed to protect large transport and rotary-wing aircraft from IR-guided missile threats by confusing its guidance system without requiring input from the aircrew.

"The company will supply a range of support services, including repair, engineering sustainment, logistics and training services to the MoD."

Equipped with five IR missile warning system (MWS) sensors and central processor, the fully autonomous system safeguards aircraft against shoulder-fired, vehicle-launched, and other IR-guided missiles during normal takeoff and landing, assault landings, tactical descents, air drops, low-level flight and aerial refuelling missions.

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Additional features include control indicator unit (CIU) for cockpit display, two pointer-tracker/jamming subsystems or guardian laser tracker assemblies (GLTA) consisting of four-axis stabilised gimballed system, fine track sensor (FTS) and a viper laser.

The system has been mounted or selected for installation on over 700 military aircraft, including 11 British military aircraft, the US Air Force’s C-5B, C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster, MC-130H Talon, and Australia’s A330 tanker and 737 AEW&C aircraft.

Contract work is scheduled to be carried out at the company’s specialist diagnostic and technical support centre in Chester, UK, and at its repair facility in Rolling Meadows, US, over the next five years.

Image: Northrop and USAF officials look at a LAIRCM pod attached to a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft. Photo: courtesy of USAF Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol.

Defence Technology