Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Northrop Grumman Begins Full Rate Production of U.S. Navy's Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures System for Heavy Lift Helicopter Fleets

Northrop Grumman Begins Full Rate Production of U.S. Navy's Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures System for Heavy Lift Helicopter Fleets
February 10, 2010

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. - The Department of the Navy's CH-53E heavy lift helicopter fleet will continue to receive new Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC)-designed, built and tested Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (LAIRCM) self-protection systems following the Pentagon's decision to authorize full rate production of the units.

The decision, allows Naval Air Systems Command to continue
procurement of Northrop Grumman's battle-proven Department of Navy
LAIRCM (DoN LAIRCM) system, which includes the Viper(TM) Laser and the
newest generation jam head and missile warning sensor technology.

"The DoN LAIRCM Team has made a significant contribution to our
forward deployed Marines. Today, the DoN LAIRCM system is installed and
is flying in combat operations providing the world's most advanced
aircraft protection system to our Marines and Sailors," said CAPT Paul
Overstreet USN -- the Navy's Program Manager. "This has been a model
rapid acquisition program and could not have been accomplished without
the tireless efforts of the Northrop Grumman/US Gov team."

"Aircraft survivability equipment has taken on an increasingly
important role in U.S. Department of Defense and Marine Corps
aviation," said Carl Smith, vice president of Infrared Countermeasures
Programs at Northrop Grumman's Land and Self Protection Systems
Division. "During this highly accelerated program, the team
accomplished in just 19 months what typically requires more than 36
months to complete. Frequent and effective communications between the
government and contractor Integrated Product Team members were key to
this success."

To evaluate system effectiveness, live fire testing was
performed at Tonopah and White Sands Missile Ranges in addition to
flight testing at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and Eglin Air
Force Base where the system demonstrated the capability to
significantly increase aircraft survivability. DoN LAIRCM went into
operational use on CH-53E helicopters starting in January 2009 and has
accrued over 4,500 successful flight hours providing aircrews with
protection from potential infrared missile attacks. Full rate
production authorization expands the platform base to include the
CH-53D and CH-46E helicopters.

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 including
approximately 50 different fixed-wing transports and rotary-wing
platforms. 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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