Northrop Grumman Receives $3.6B U.S. Air Force Contract for Infrared Countermeasures Systems

Northrop Grumman has received a $3.6 billion indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) award for Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) systems and support from the U.S. Air Force.

Under the IDIQ, the Air Force may issue task or delivery order awards up to the ceiling amount specified in the contract. Work under the contract is set to conclude in 2025. The initial task order is $2.4 million for logistics support services.

Northrop Grumman’s LAIRCM system protects aircrews by detecting, tracking and jamming incoming infrared threats without the need for user intervention.

“This new IDIQ award extends Northrop Grumman’s multi-decade support of successful aircrew protection provided by our infrared countermeasure systems, and demonstrates our customer’s confidence in LAIRCM’s ability to address the rapidly changing threat environment,” said Bob Gough, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR division, Northrop Grumman.

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.

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.

Northrop Grumman infrared countermeasures are enabling missions worldwide, having been installed on more than 1,800 aircraft of more than 80 types worldwide.



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