Northrop Grumman has secured a contract extension to maintain the large aircraft infrared countermeasure (LAIRCM) systems of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Awarded by Australian Defence Organisation, the $96m contract requires Northrop Grumman to continue delivering support services such as sustainment, engineering, repair and training for LAIRCM, AN/AAR-47 and AN/APR-39 systems.

The LAIRCM technology is designed to detect a missile launch and protect the aircraft by initiating a laser-based countermeasure system to defeat the threat.

Currently, LAIRCM provides protection for RAAF’s five aircraft types.

Northrop Grumman land and avionics C4ISR vice-president Bob Gough said: “Since 2001, Northrop Grumman and the RAAF have been working in partnership to keep aircrews safe from the threat of infrared-guided missiles.

“This Australia-based sustainment activity is critical to keeping the LAIRCM system ready for aircrew safety and mission success.”

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The company will carry out the project works at its repair facility located at the RAAF Edinburgh base in South Australia.

Northrop Grumman noted that using the local facility for maintaining the LAIRCM systems will reduce the time to return a system to service by up to 50%.

To date, the company has installed infrared countermeasures systems on more 1,500 aircraft globally.

Last month, Northrop Grumman secured a $200m order from the US Air Force (USAF) to provide LAIRCM systems and support.

The contract was ordered under an existing indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract signed in January.