Sunday, December 4, 2022

Northrop Grumman contracted for LAIRCM system to protect aircraft from infrared missiles

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. has been contracted by the U.S. Air Force for Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) pod provides 360-degree protection against a wide range of missile threats. 

The contract, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, is worth more than $3.6 billion.

This contract provides for LAIRCM line replaceable units, support equipment, logistics support related activities, systems and sustaining engineering, program management, and other efforts necessary supporting efforts specified in each task/delivery order. Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and is expected to be completed by December 2025.   


According to the Northrop Grumman, the LAIRCM is designed to protect large aircraft from man-portable missiles, increases crew-warning time, decreases false alarm rates and automatically counters advanced IR missile systems by directing a high-intensity modulated laser beam into the missile seeker, with no action required by the crew.

The LAIRCM 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.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.