The US Government has approved a potential sale of two AN/AAQ-24(V)N Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) systems to Qatar for 747-800 head-of-state aircraft.

Qatar intends to use the LAIRCM systems for installation on a pair of 747-800s.

The approval does not represent the completion of the sale. It needs the authorisation of Congress before the contracts are negotiated to finalise the sale.

With an estimated price tag of $86m, the possible foreign military sale will include 12 Guardian Laser Turret Assemblies (GLTA), seven LAIRCM System Processor Replacements (LSPR), 23 Missile Warning Sensors (MWS), and Control Indicator Unit Replacements (CIURs).

Other related equipment, engineering and logistics support are also included in the potential sale.

In a press release, the DSCA said: “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East.

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“Qatar is host to the US Central Command forces and serves as a critical forward-deployed location in the region.”

The procurement of the LAIRCM systems will provide enhanced capability to Qatar to deter regional threats.

The self-protection suite will improve the capability to tackle increased missile threats.

Northrop Grumman has been named as the principal contractor for the AN/AAQ-24(V)N LAIRCM.

LAIRCM offers protection to aircraft from infrared-guided missiles.

In 2013, the US approved the sale of two AN/AAQ-24(V) LAIRCM systems and related equipment to Qatar.