Northrop Grumman to provide equipment for aircraft laser-based electro-optical missile defense
PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – Missile-defense experts at Northrop Grumman Corp. will provide equipment for laser-based electro-optical missile-defense systems aboard large military aircraft under terms of a $99.5 million U.S. Navy order announced Tuesday.
Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking the Northrop Grumman Mission Systems segment in Rolling Meadows, Ill., to provide the Large Aircraft Infrared Counter Measures (LAIRCM) for a variety of U.S. Navy and Air Force 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.
Northrop Grumman will provide weapon replaceable assemblies and support equipment; 302 advanced threat warning sensors; 41 control indicator units; 41 to 2103 signal processors, 82 guardian laser transmitter assemblies (GLTA); 82 GLTA shipping containers; 16 multi-role electro-optical end-to-end test sets; and 14 smart connector assemblies.
LAIRCM 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, the CV-22 tiltrotor aircraft, the KC-46 aerial refueling jet, as well as the U.S. Navy P-8A 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, as well as during low-level operations and aerial refueling.
Initial LAIRCM systems equipped C-17 and C-130 aircraft as a stop-gap measure, using an ultraviolet sensor, a countermeasure processor, and a small laser turret assembly.
Later-model LAIRCM systems use a smaller laser turret, and operate in the infrared region. Compared to first-phase LAIRCM systems, the newer models provide better resolution, better performance in optical clutter, and increased range of detection.
In the future military leaders are trying to develop aircraft-protection infrared countermeasures able to detect and classify incoming missiles, then emit a custom jamming energy to defeat them.
On this order Northrop Grumman will do the work in Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, Ill.; Goleta, Calif.; Longmont, Colo.; Colombia, Md.; as well as various locations within and outside the U.S., and should be finished in April 2019.
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