Northrop Grumman announced today that it has won a $31.7 million contract to deliver an advanced anti-missile system to the US Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command.
Under the terms of the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA) 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. The LAIRCM configuration 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.
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.