Northrop Grumman believes an infrared countermeasures system can be affordable for airlines, if the US government decides commercial aircraft should be equipped with defences against man-portable air defence systems (Manpads).

Working with FedEx and Northwest Airlines, the company leads one of three teams in the US Department of Homeland Security's Counter-Manpads programme. Downselect for Phase 2, flight testing and supplemental type certification, is expected in late August.

Northrop Grumman says a podded derivative of its military laser-based directional infared countermeasures (DIRCM) system would cost less than $1 million installed, with an operating cost penalty of 0.1¢/seat-mile.

Stuctural strengthening to carry the 160kg (350lb) underfuselage pod would take three days during a heavy-maintenance check.


Source: Flight International