The US Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) has awarded a contract to Leonardo DRS for AN/AAQ-45 Distributed Aperture Infrared Countermeasure (DAIRCM) aircraft protection systems.

Under the $120m mixed cost-plus-incentive-fee and firm-fixed-price contract, the company will be responsible for offering non-recurring engineering design and test hardware for the systems.

The company will provide development models and production representative models of weapons replaceable assemblies (WRAs) for AN/AAQ-45.

These models will be put through government testing.

Contract work will be performed in the Leonardo DRS facilities in Dallas, San Diego, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and Melbourne.

Development under the contract is expected to conclude in 2024.

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Featuring an open and scalable architecture, the system will be suitable for use on a range of aircraft.

The system’s low size, weight and power design allows it to support various rotary and tilt-wing aircraft.

DAIRCM was developed by Leonardo DRS through Airborne & Intelligence Systems, Daylight Solutions, and Electro-Optical & Infrared Systems.

The contract follows the Joint Urgent Operational Needs programme that developed systems for the US Army, air force and navy platforms.

Leonardo DRS executive vice-president and chief operating officer John Baylouny said: “Leonardo DRS is proud to provide these state-of-the-art systems to enhance aircraft protection throughout the fleet.

“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.”