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News

Northrop Grumman - Infrared Systems for RAF Tankers


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Northrop Grumman
: 17 July, 2008  (Technical Article)
Northrop Grumman to Equip U.K. Royal Air Force Tankers With Infrared Countermeasures Systems
Northrop Grumman Corporation has been selected to provide its laser-based Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures Systems (LAIRCM) for the U.K. Royal Air Force's (RAF) air-to-air refueling and transport aircraft.

Under the terms of the $93 million contract, Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division will provide LAIRCM system hardware and support for the U.K.'s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft program (FSTA) to Thales U.K., a member of the AirTanker consortium.

'Building on our longstanding relationship with the U.K. Ministry of Defence, this participation in the FSTA program demonstrates our commitment to protecting U.K., U.S. and other coalition force warfighters and high-value aircraft from the threat of shoulder-fired, heat-seeking missiles,' said Carl Smith, vice president of Infrared Countermeasures programs at Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division. 'It is a testament to our enduring infrared countermeasures legacy that LAIRCM continues to be the system of choice for mission critical assets.'

The AirTanker consortium will provide a fleet of 14 new tanker aircraft based on the Airbus A330-200, which will start to come into service from 2011, replacing the existing fleet of VC-10 and TriStar aircraft.

The only such aircraft protection system currently in production, Northrop Grumman's LAIRCM system is now installed or scheduled for installation on several hundred military aircraft to protect approximately 40 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.
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