Defense Support Services (DS2), a Greenville, SC-based venture between Lockheed Martin and Day & Zimmermann, received a $96 million contract to provide support for the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (LAIRCM) System.
Northrop Grumman’s LAIRCM is a laser-based countermeasures system that is designed to defend C-17 and C-130 transport aircraft and other large, slow-moving aircraft from an infrared missile attack by automatically detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat, and activating a high-intensity system of pulsed lasers to track and defeat the threat by confusing its guidance head…
The LAIRCM was developed in response to heat seeking missiles that are able to outsmart the flares that large aircraft deploy to thwart them. Particularly troublesome are the shoulder-fired man-portable air-defense missiles (MANPADS). More than 700,000 MANPADS are estimated to have been produced in the past 30 years. According to the USAF, 90% of all US air combat losses for the last 25 years can be attributed to infrared missiles, such as MANPADS.
The LAIRCM system has 2 small laser transmitter assemblies mounted on the rear of the plane, as well as 5 missile warning transmitters at various points on the aircraft. The most prominent warning transmitters are in 2 projections on top of the aircraft just back of the cockpit that resemble “horns.” Processors in the cockpit and rear of the plane collect the data and transmit information to the aircrew.
Capt. Jeffrey Bryant, USAF 95th Airlift Squadron’s standardization and evaluation navigator, said that the USAF has seen a lot of MANPADS in Iraq. He explains how the LAIRCM system defeats them.
“The laser transmitters are the heart of the system. They basically work to interrupt the infrared signal, or heat. The two rear lasers ‘blind’ the missile’s eyeball, so it disables the missile’s ability to follow the heat source from the plane.”
The US Air Force’s Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base manages the DS2 contact (FA8625-10-D-6501).
September 30/19: Qatar The US State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Qatar of two AN/AAQ-24(V)N Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) systems and related equipment for an estimated cost of $86 million. The procurement of the LAIRCM systems will provide enhanced capability to Qatar to deter regional 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. Qatar intends to use the LAIRCM systems for installation on a pair of 747-800s.
May 2/19: LAIRCM Integration Northrop Grumman won a contract action with a not-to-exceed-value of $132.3 million to integrate the Department of Navy Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system onto aircraft for the US Navy, Army, and the governments of the UK and Norway. The deal provides necessary hardware and systems technical support, analysis and studies for the integration work. The LAIRCM system enhances individual aircraft survival through improved aircrew situational awareness of the electromagnetic threat environment. The fundamental requirement for the LAIRCM system is to provide protection against man-portable, shoulder-fired and vehicle launched infrared guided missiles. Hardware for the procurement includes 283 advanced threat warning sensors, 79 control indicator unit replaceables, 52 -2103 signal processors, 120 infrared missile warning sensors, 91 Guardian Laser Transmitter Assemblies (GLTAs), 13 multi-role electro-optical end-to-end test sets, 190 GLTA shipping containers, 46 high capacity cards, 10 LAIRCM signal processor replacements smart connector assemblies, and 123 personal computer memory card, international association cards. Northrop will perform work within the US and expected completion date is in June 2021.
November 22/16: South Korea has been cleared to continue with their purchase of Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure systems (LAIRCM). Developed by Northrop Grumman, the pods are designed to protect large aircraft from man-portable missiles. The $141 million sale will see four LAIRCM systems procured for Korean A-330 multirole tanker aircraft. South Korean F-16s are also slated for upgrade, following the awarding of a $1.2 billion contract by the Pentagon to Lockheed Martin.
August 9/16: Northrop Grumman has been awarded $45 million as part of the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) program. The USAF deal will see NG conduct work on processor replacement and support hardware with completion expected for April 2018. First fielded in 2005, LAIRCM provides automatic protection against shoulder-fired, vehicle-launched, and other infrared-guided missiles for large transport and rotary-wing aircraft.