Elbit Systems has been awarded a USD73 million contract from Diehl Defence to provide its J-Multi-Spectral Infrared Countermeasure (MUSIC) directed infrared (IR) countermeasure (DIRCM) systems for installation on German Air Force (Luftwaffe) Airbus A400M transport aircraft, the company announced at the Paris Air Show on 19 June, which is being held from 17 to 23 June.
Speaking to Jane's on the same day, Sasson Meshar, vice-president for airborne electro-optic systems at Elbit, explained that this contract covers an initial batch of 12 J-MUSIC turrets along with integration work in conjunction with Diehl Defence and Airbus. Each aircraft fit involves the installation of three turrets - one under the fuselage and one on either side of the aft fuselage - to ensure maximum defence against hostile manportable surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, even while the aircraft is flying tactically. The current order could therefore equip an initial four A400Ms with J-MUSIC, with Meshar indicating that the system could be certified on the A400M within the space of three years.
In addition to the turrets, which house an IR-based tracking system, the laser used to defeat the seeker heads of hostile SAMs, and the gimbal and mirror system used to direct the laser, the J-MUSIC fit also involves the installation of four or five passive IR-based missile warning receivers around the aircraft.
Meshar said he believed the Luftwaffe's intention is to split its A400M fleet into a tactical fleet of 24-32 aircraft, which could theoretically operate in harm's way and will therefore ultimately receive J-MUSIC fits and a non-tactical fleet that would not need to be protected against manportable SAMs.
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