Laser aircraft defense system approved by State Department

WASHINGTON. The U.S. State Department has approved the possible sale of two AN/AAQ-24(V)N Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures systems to Qatar for $86 million.

Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman.

The systems Qatar is interested in buying include 12 guardian laser turret assemblies, seven LAIRCM System Processor Replacements, and 23 missile warning sensors, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said. The sale would also include technical and logistics support, and other related elements of logistics and program support.

LAIRCM uses a guided laser to blind the seeker head of infrared-guided missiles, which stops their ability to track down the heat signature of an aircraft. The systems are capable of supporting existing facilities. The proposed sale would support an ally in the Middle East where the U.S. Central Command forces are based, officials claim.

Northrop Grumman will be the prime contractor, and the potential sale is not expected to offset any other agreements or adversely affect U.S. defense readiness, according to the agency.