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Northrop Grumman to begin production and deployment of its Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures pod for the KC-135


The Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) pod for the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft has achieved Milestone C. This critical milestone, awarded by the Department of Defense Milestone Decision Authority, marks the end of the development and testing phase and enables the beginning of production and deployment.


Northrop Grumman to begin production and deployment of its Infrared Countermeasures System for the KC 135 Northrop Grumman’s laser-based LAIRCM infrared countermeasure packages advanced missile warning sensors, a pointer/tracker and processor into a pod that can be transferred between KC-135 aircraft for survivability (Picture source: US Air Force)


The Generation 3 podded LAIRCM system, known previously as Guardian™, is an infrared countermeasure system that detects, tracks and jams incoming missiles. It incorporates advanced missile warning sensors, a compact laser pointer/tracker and a processor in a single pod that can be readily transferred between aircraft to meet rapidly changing mission requirements. This mature system leverages Northrop Grumman’s decades-long countermeasures experience and requires no aircrew intervention. KC-135 aircrews can focus on their critical refueling, aeromedical evacuation and cargo missions while gaining the full survivability benefit the LAIRCM system provides.

To achieve Milestone C, Northrop Grumman worked closely with the KC-135 Program Office, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command to thoroughly test LAIRCM for KC-135 in the laboratory and the field.

“In this changing threat environment, the LAIRCM Generation 3 pod is ready to provide much-needed protection to KC-135 aircrews as they carry out their critical support missions,” said Bob Gough, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR, Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman's infrared countermeasure systems have been installed on more than 1,800 large and small fixed wing, rotary wing and tilt-rotor platforms of more than 80 types.