Northrop Grumman has been awarded an order by the US Air Force (USAF) to provide large aircraft infrared countermeasure (LAIRCM) systems and support.

The USAF awarded the $200m order under an existing indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract.

The LAIRCM system is designed by Northrop Grumman to offer protection to aircrews by automatically detecting, tracking and jamming incoming infrared threats.

Northrop Grumman land and avionics C4ISR vice-president Bob Gough said: “With this award, we continue to protect US and international partner aircrews from the threat of infrared-guided weapons.”

The company’s infrared countermeasures are supporting more than 1,500 aircraft globally.

In January, Northrop Grumman won a $3.6bn IDIQ contract from the USAF to supply LAIRCM missile defence systems and support.

The $2.4m initial task order under the contract involved the provision of logistics support services.

The task / delivery orders to be awarded through the IDIQ will cover LAIRCM line replaceable units, support equipment, logistics support related activities, sustaining engineering and programme management.

LAIRCM systems are designed to protect large fixed-wing transport and small rotary-wing aircraft from an infrared missile attack.

The laser-based countermeasures system automatically detects a missile launch and then determines if it is a threat.

If the missile is a threat, a high-intensity countermeasure system is activated to track and defeat it.

The company produces the system at its defensive systems division in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

Earlier this month, the firm secured a contract from the US Army for Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) systems and support services.

The CIRCM system uses laser energy to protect aircraft from infrared threats.