The Northrop Grumman Corporation Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) pod for the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft has achieved Milestone C. This critical milestone, awarded by the Department of Defense Milestone Decision Authority, marks the end of the development and testing phase and enables the beginning of production and deployment.
The Generation 3 podded LAIRCM system, known previously as Guardian, is an infrared countermeasure system that detects, tracks and jams incoming missiles. It incorporates advanced missile warning sensors, a compact laser pointer/tracker and a processor in a single pod that can be readily transferred between aircraft to meet rapidly changing mission requirements. This mature system leverages Northrop Grumman’s decades-long countermeasures experience and requires no aircrew intervention. KC-135 Stratotanker aircrews can focus on their critical refueling, aeromedical evacuation and cargo missions while gaining the full survivability benefit the LAIRCM system provides.
To achieve Milestone C, Northrop Grumman worked closely with the KC-135 Stratotanker Program Office, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command to thoroughly test LAIRCM for KC-135 Stratotanker in the laboratory and the field.
«In this changing threat environment, the LAIRCM Generation 3 pod is ready to provide much-needed protection to KC-135 Stratotanker aircrews as they carry out their critical support missions», said Bob Gough, vice president, land and avionics Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), Northrop Grumman.
Northrop Grumman’s infrared countermeasure systems have been installed on more than 1,800 large and small fixed wing, rotary wing and tilt-rotor platforms of more than 80 types.
Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a $3.6 billion Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) award for Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (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 Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) division, Northrop Grumman.
Northrop Grumman infrared countermeasures are enabling missions worldwide, having been installed on more than 1,800 aircraft of more than 80 types worldwide.
Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a delivery order from the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) to deliver an advanced anti-missile system to the Air National Guard (ANG) and Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC).
Under the terms of the $31.7 million contract, Northrop Grumman will deliver three modernized third-generation pods, which are based on the Northrop Grumman Guardian system that was developed for the Department of Homeland Security, for the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command’s KC-135 aircraft. The company will also support government flight tests and provide training. The work is expected to be completed by early 2017.
The third-generation pod benefits from the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) Block 30 configuration, which incorporates the latest system processor technology, infrared missile warning sensors, the Viper laser and a new control interface unit.
«This open architecture configuration, with its increased capability and reliability, provides the next level of aircraft protection», said Carl Smith, vice president, infrared countermeasure programs, Land and Self Protection Systems Division, Northrop Grumman. «Block 30 builds on the company’s more than 15 years of experience in battle-proven laser-based infrared countermeasures. The third-generation role-fit pod configuration offers reliable, flexible protection that is ideally suited to numerous military and commercial aircraft».
The third-generation pod provides 360-degree protection against a wide range of missile threats. When LAIRCM detects a Man-Portable Air-Defense System (MANPADS) launch, it tracks the incoming missile and uses a laser beam to jam the missile’s guidance system, causing it to miss the target aircraft. The entire process occurs in just a few seconds and requires no action on the part of the aircraft crew. The system includes a multiband laser pointer/tracker and four infrared missile-warning sensors. The system is contained almost entirely in a single pod that mounts to the underside of the fuselage and can be moved easily from one aircraft to another, as needed.
Northrop Grumman’s various infrared countermeasure systems are now installed or scheduled for installation on more than 1,000 military aircraft around the world, protecting 55 different types of large fixed-wing transports and rotary-wing platforms from infrared missile attacks.