BAE Systems to provide LAIRCM for US KC-130Js

The US Navy has contracted BAE Systems to install, integrate and test the Department of the Navy’s (DoN) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system on its Lockheed Martin KC-130J Hercules tanker/transports.

The deal – worth US$26.7m – was awarded to the company by the US Navy’s Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s (NAWCAD’s) Aircraft Prototyping Systems Division.

KC-130J [USMC/LCpl Kelly R Chase] #1
A pair of USMC KC-130Js - assigned to the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 352 - conduct air-to-air refuelling exercises off the coast of San Diego, California, in February 2007. USMC/LCpl Kelly R Chase

BAE Systems will install the LAIRCM suite on up to 19 KC-130J aircraft over the next five years, with contract work taking place in Crestview, Florida, in partnership with Vertex Aerospace’s Aircraft Integration and Sustainment (AIS) Division. Alongside the installation, integration and testing of the LAIRCM upgrade, BAE Systems will also provide KC-130J maintenance and support activities under the contract.

Designed and produced by Northrop Grumman, the LAIRCM suite is housed in a tail-mounted pod and uses a turreted laser system to detect and disable the seekers of infrared-seeking missiles. According to BAE Systems, the platform “improves aircraft capability and survivability by countering advanced infrared missile system threats.”

Pete Trainer, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems’ Air Force Solutions, said: “We understand how vital the KC-130J is to the US Navy and [USMC] and the enhanced capability the DoN LAIRCM system brings to the fight… With more than 40 years of experience managing complex aircraft [modernisation] and sustainment [programmes], we’re excited that NAWCAD has entrusted us to integrate this system onto their aircraft to ensure the safety of the aircrews and protect this vital capability.”