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UAE seeks Northrop LAIRCM upgrade for C-17As

The United Arab Emirates Air Force could protect its eight Boeing C-17A strategic transports with Northrop Grumman’s missile-dazzling large aircraft infrared countermeasures (LAIRCM) system under a $225 million deal recently approved by the US government.

Northrop would be a subcontractor to Boeing if the deal closes. Abu Dhabi is seeking eight Northrop AAQ-24 LAIRCM suites, each comprised of three Guardian laser transmitter assemblies, six ultraviolet missile warning sensors and other major components.

“The proposed purchase of LAIRCM to provide for the protection of UAE’s C-17 fleet enhances the safety of UAE airlift aircraft engaging in humanitarian and resupply missions,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) says in a notice of the approved sale. “LAIRCM facilitates a more robust capability into areas of increased missile threats.”

The equipment itself is worth $83 million, according to the agency, but the total programme cost is closer to $225 million over six years.

Separately, the US government has approved a $350 million contractor logistics support package requested by the Iraqi Air Force for continued support for its six Beechcraft King Air 350 surveillance turboprops. The current contract expires in September.

"The KA-350 aircraft are Iraq’s only [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance]-dedicated airborne platforms and are used to support Iraqi military operations against Al-Qaeda affiliates and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces."

DSCA lists original equipment manufacturer Beechcraft of Wichita, Kansas as the prime contractor through the US foreign military sales process.

In another potential deal, approved on 25 February, Pratt & Whitney would support planned engine maintenance for the Royal Jordanian Air Force’s F-16 fleet. That $115 million package relates to 52 F100-220E F-16 engines. Flightglobal's Fleets Analyzer database records Jordan as operating 63 Lockheed Martin F-16A/Bs.

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