Northrop Grumman has been awarded $13.9m for procurement of additional hardware to integrate large aircraft infrared countermeasures on combat aircraft for the US Navy and the governments of the UK and Australia.
The Guardian system provides protection against a wide range of missile threats. The system tracks the incoming missile then uses a laser beam to jam the missile’s guidance system, causing it to miss the target aircraft. The entire process occurs in approximately two to five seconds and requires no action on the part of the aircraft crew according to the company.
According to a contract note posted by the US Department of Defense:
“Hardware for this procurement includes weapon replaceable assemblies and support equipment: two 2103 Signal Processors, 23 Guardian Laser Transmitter Assemblies (GLTAs), 23 GLTA shipping containers for the Navy, and 18 Multi-role Electro-optical End-to-End Test Sets for the Navy (14) and the governments of the United Kingdom (two) and Australia (two). Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, Illinois (34 percent); Goleta, California (30 percent); Longmont, Colorado (11 percent); Colombia, Maryland (3 percent); various locations within the U.S. (19 percent); and various locations outside the continental U.S. (3 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2019.
Fiscal 2017 aircraft procurement (Navy, Air Force); working capital fund (Navy); and international partner funds in the amount of $13,935,792 are being obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This modification combines purchases for the Navy ($13,055,492; 94 percent); Air Force ($528,180; 4 percent); and the governments of U.K. ($176,060; 1 percent) and Australia ($176,060; 1 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.”
The company say:
“Northrop Grumman’s IRCM system is now installed or scheduled for installation on several hundred military aircraft across the Department of Defense to protect approximately 50 different types of large fixed-wing transports and rotary-wing platforms from infrared missile attacks.”
The system functions by automatically detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat and activating a high-intensity laser-based countermeasure system to track and defeat the missile.