Northrop Grumman has received a $3.6bn contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to supply large aircraft infrared countermeasure (LAIRCM) missile defence systems and support.

Under the indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract, which is the result of a sole-source acquisition, the initial task order is valued at $2.4m and involves the provision of logistics support services.

The company may receive task or delivery order awards up to the contract ceiling amount, which will be issued by the USAF.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) said that this contract provides for supporting efforts specified in each task / delivery order such as LAIRCM line replaceable units, support equipment, logistics support related activities, as well as sustaining engineering and programme management.

The LAIRCM system offers protection to aircrews by detecting, tracking and jamming incoming infrared threats automatically.

If an incoming threat is detected, LAIRCM activates a high-intensity laser-based countermeasure system to track and defeat the missile.

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By GlobalData
“To date, the company’s infrared countermeasures have been installed on more than 1,800 aircraft globally.”

Northrop Grumman land and avionics C4ISR division vice-president Bob Gough said: “This new IDIQ award extends Northrop Grumman’s multi-decade support of successful aircrew protection provided by our infrared countermeasure systems, and demonstrates our customer’s confidence in LAIRCM’s ability to address the rapidly changing threat environment.”

Work under the contract will be carried out in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, US, and is expected to be completed by December 2025.

The DoD noted that the contract will include several foreign military sales requirements.

To date, the company’s infrared countermeasures have been installed on more than 1,800 aircraft globally.

In March 2012, the company received a $334m firm-fixed-price contract from the USAF to provide LAIRCM systems and support. The company was awarded a $111m modification in June 2015.

According to the firm, the AN/AAQ-24(V) directional infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) system is essential to defeating advanced infrared threats and has a lower lifecycle cost compared to other infrared countermeasure approaches.