Leonardo DRS has received a contract from US Naval Air Systems Command to provide engineering design and test hardware for the AN/AAQ-45 Distributed Aperture Infrared Countermeasure (DAIRCM) advanced aircraft protection system, the company announced on 20 July. The mixed contract is valued at $120 million (€104.9 million) and delivery is expected to be completed in 2024.

The contract follows the previous Joint Urgent Operational Needs programme, which resulted in the system being fielded on US Air Force, Army and Navy platforms. This Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) programme will continue to develop, integrate and test improved capabilities to keep pace with enhanced and future threats.

Leonardo DRS will provide non-recurring engineering to design, develop, integrate and test engineering development models as well as production representative models of weapons-replaceable assemblies for government testing. The system has an open and scalable architecture that allows it to be optimised for various airborne platforms. The low size, weight and power design supports a range of rotary- and tilt-wing aircraft and includes potential application to emerging future vertical lift programmes.

This continued strong partnership with our customer has produced technologies that will offer advanced capabilities, including combat survivability for flight crews while supporting their ability to accomplish diverse mission sets for years to come,” commented John Baylouny, Executive VP and COO, Leonardo DRS.

The AN/AAQ-45 DAIRCM was developed by three Leonardo DRS business units acting collaboratively. As missile and other anti-aircraft threats continue to evolve and expand around the world, frontline helicopters will require a small but capable system to defeat these threats. (Photo via Leonardo DRS)

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