The German air force’s fleet of Airbus Defence & Space A400M tactical transports will soon have improved protection against surface-to-air heat-seeking missiles, with the service set to integrate directed-infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) technology from Elbit Systems.

At the show, Airbus announced that it has been contracted by Germany's BAAINBw defence procurement agency to integrate and certify Elbit's J-Music DIRCM system as part of the A400M’s defensive aids subsystem.

The DIRCM technology will complement the A400M’s existing self-protection suite, which includes missile warning technology, radar warning receiver and countermeasures dispensing system. Germany's Diehl Defence is responsible for providing the J-Music system, with the contract expected to last over a four-year period.

"The signing of the contract is another significant milestone for the A400M programme, and underlines the enormous growth potential of the aircraft and the confidence Germany has in it," says Michael Menking, head of A400M programme.

Elbit says it has been awarded a $73 million contract via Diehl Defence.

“Germany is an important market for us,” says Elad Aharonson, general manager of Elbit's ISTAR division. “We are proud to be a trusted supplier of the German armed forces, and of our continuous co-operation with Diehl Defence and Airbus Defence & Space. This contract award is yet another testament to the maturity of our DIRCM systems and to the high level of confidence that they provide to users.”

The German air force received its first tactically-configured A400M in December 2016, which included self-protection elements that allowed it to fly in high-threat military environments.

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