Northrop Grumman Awarded FMS Contract for LAIRCM Missile Defense System

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a firm-fixed-price contract for large aircraft infrared counter-measures (LAIRCM) Missile Defense System.

The contract, worth around $16 million, was awarded by the 645th Aeronautical Systems Group located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. This contract involves 100 percent foreign military sales (FMS) and was a sole-source acquisition. FMS funds for the amount were obligated at the time of the award.

Critical to the safe return of troops abroad, LAIRCM automatically detects a missile launch, determines if it is a threat and activates a high-intensity laser-based countermeasure system to track and defeat the missile.

Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, with an estimated completion date of April 1, 2024.


The LAIRCM (large aircraft infrared counter-measures) has been developed to protect large military aircraft from IR guided man-portable surface-to-air missiles (SAM).

LAIRCM uses missile warning system to detect and incoming missile, then the protection system directs a pointer-tracker to the missile’s seeker jamming it with a infrared laser energy beam.

It is a derivative of the proven AN/AAQ-24 Nemesis Directional IR Countermeasure (DIRCM) system.

The system is a fully autonomous system not requiring inputs coming from the aircraft crew. LAIRCM is being offered to the commercial aviation segment as a protection mechanism against any potential terrorist attack using man-portable, shoulder-launced surface-to-air missiles.

To date, the system has been selected for integration onto the U.S. Air Force (USAF) C-5B Galaxy, C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft; the MC-130H Talon special operations aircraft; and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) A330 tanker and 737 AEW&C. As of July 2005, the USAF had contracts on order for integration of LAIRCM high-intensity modulated laser beam countermeasures on 56 C-17s through 2007.


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