Australia has ordered Northrop Grumman's AN/AAQ-24(V) Nemesis directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system to equip its new fleet of airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft being acquired under that country's Project Wedgetail programme.

The contract is the first foreign sale of the Nemesis system augmented with the Viper multiband laser. Previous sales have been for the initial version, which uses an infrared lamp to jam the seekers of approaching infrared-guided missiles.

Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems division says the new contract is valued at $20 million.

Under Project Wedgetail, Australia has ordered four Boeing 737-700s equipped with Northrop Grumman's MESA radar, with the first aircraft going to the Royal Australian Air Force in 2006. A further three aircraft are on option.


Nemesis, which is a joint US-UK development, has also been chosen to give US Air Force large transport aircraft, such as Boeing C-17 Globemaster IIIs and Lockheed Martin C-130s, a self-defence capability.

The system is designed to be easily fitted and removed so an air force with limited resources can move a fixed number of sets between those aircraft that are likely to be entering threat areas. This ability to move Nemesis between aircraft is a UK requirement.

James Pennock, Northrop Grumman Electronic Sensors & Systems' director of business development, infrared programmes, said at the show yesterday several other nations have requested the system, particularly to equip VIP aircraft.

Source: Flight Daily News