The US government may be prepared to fund the purchase of a large batch of directional infra-red countermeasures (Dircm) systems for civil airliners, to help protect them from the perceived growing threat to their safety from shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles.

The comment came as Northrop Grumman unveiled the latest variant of its Large Aircraft Countermeasures (Laircm) system, Laircm Lite.

The current Laircm Lite is destined for military aircraft such as US Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transports, but is intended to be followed by a new installation for civil aircraft.


The new civil variant would be packaged in a conformal pod, or 'canoe' almost three metres long and weighing around 155kg, which would be positioned under the rear fuselage of an airliner, said Dr Robert Del Boca, vice-president, infrared countermeasures and laser systems.

Installation would take around a week, although it is hoped to reduce this time, he adds.

At present, Northrop Grumman estimates the cost at about $2 million per aircraft, assuming a purchase to cover 300 aircraft.

That figure will cover the cost of the equipment, installation and spares.

Cost would come down to around $1 million if 1,000 aircraft were given protection. Operating costs are estimated at around $26 per hour.

"The way we've heard it discussed, the [US] government is prepared to fund the acquisition costs for this in the US," says Del Boca.

Galileo drone deal

Galileo Avionica has signed a contract with QinetiQ for the supply of Mirach 100/5 training drones for the replacement aerial target system (RATS) on UK target ranges, which QinetiQ manages.

The firm says that the high technology content of the Mirach enabled it to beat the rival Jindivik drone. The success follows the sale of the naval version to the UK.

Source: Flight Daily News