Northrop Grumman Systems has been awarded a contract for support of the AN/AAQ-24 large aircraft infrared counter-measure (LAIRCM) direct sales public private partnership for repair of 34 national stock numbers.
The firm-fixed-price requirements contract, worth $444.6 million, was awarded by the U.S. Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC) located at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. This contract involves 3.9 percent foreign military sales (FMS) funds in the amount of $17.2 million to Canada and Bahrain.
The work will be performed in Warner Robins, Georgia, with an expected completion date of Dec. 14, 2022.
Large Aircraft Infrared Counter-Measure system (LAIRCM) was a requirement for protecting large aircraft from infrared-guided missiles. The solution for this requirement was the AN/AAQ-24 Nemesis system.
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.
Newer versions produced by Northrop Grumman use diode-based pump systems are known by the GUARDIAN name, and could be fitted to many commercial carriers in the near future pending the completion of many tests on the viability of such options.
It 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.