Missile-defense experts at North-rop Grumman will install Large Aircraft Infrared Counter Measures (LAIRCM) laser-based missile-defense systems for large military aircraft under terms of an $87.2 million contract modification. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is asking Northrop Grumman Mission Systems in Rolling Meadows, Ill., to provide the electro-optical LAIRCM for a variety of U.S. military aircraft. 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, Northrop Grumman officials say. The system is for Air Force C-5, C-17, C-37, and C-40 cargo and utility jets; Air Force C-130H and MC-130W four-engine utility turboprop aircraft; CV-22 tiltrotor aircraft; KC-46 aerial refueling jet; as well as the U.S. Navy P-3 maritime patrol jet. LAIRCM also can fit on some large military helicopters. LAIRCM focuses high-intensity laser energy at the infrared seeker head of incoming missiles to blind the missile and force it off its target. The system is designed to protect large aircraft from shoulder-fired, vehicle-launched, and other infrared-guided missiles when the planes are operating close to the ground, such as on takeoff and landing and during low-level operations and aerial refueling.