Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract for Large Aircraft Infrared Counter Measures (LAIRCM) Equipment And Support

Northrop Grumman Systems has been awarded a $3.6 billion indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract for Large Aircraft Infrared Counter Measures (LAIRCM) equipment and support.

The contract was awarded by the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. This contract involves numerous foreign military sales requirements and is the result of a sole-source acquisition. No funds are being obligated at the time of award.

This contract provides for LAIRCM line replaceable units, support equipment, logistics support related activities, systems and sustaining engineering, program management, and other efforts necessary supporting efforts specified in each task/delivery order.

Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and is expected to be completed by December 2025.

Large Aircraft Infrared Counter-Measure system (LAIRCM) was a U.S. Air Force (USAF) requirement for protecting large aircraft from infrared-guided missiles. The Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-24 Nemesis system was selected for the requirement.

AN/AAQ-24 Nemesis DIRCM

The AN/AAQ-24 system is a directional infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) system to protect aircraft from infrared (IR) homing (“heat seeking”) man-portable missiles.

DIRCM is a lightweight, compact system designed to provide mission-vulnerable aircraft with increased protection from common battlefield threats. It is more advanced than conventional infrared countermeasures.

The system uses an active method of jamming of infrared missile seekers through the sensor aperture. The system can be placed in either active or standby mode. In the standby mode the aircrew must select the active mode to begin jamming IR threats. The pulsing flashes of IR energy confuse the missile guidance system.

AN/AAQ-24 consists of a missile warning system (AN/AAR-54), an integration unit, a processor, and laser turrets (Small Laser Transmitter Assembly, SLTA). Early versions used an arc lamp to generate the jamming signal.

The system will be installed on C-17 Globemaster III, MC-130, CV-22 Osprey, and the CH-53E Super Stallion. The system is also the basis for the Northrop Grumman Guardian system marketed for commercial aircraft. LAIRCM-Lite is a C-17 program that uses a combination of laser jammers and flares due to the limited availability of LAIRCM components.

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