Boeing to upgrade more C-17s with defensive system

Boeing Co. won a $31.2 million contract modification from the U.S. Air Force to upgrade 25 additional C-17 Globemaster IIIs with the Northrop Grumman Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures defensive system, the company said yesterday.

The C-17 Globemaster III is a cargo-carrying aircraft manufactured by the aerospace company and used by the U.S. Air Force and the U.K.'s Royal Air Force to transport materiel, weaponry and personnel over long distances.

The system, known as LAIRCM, detects and tracks infrared-seeking missiles and then jams them by directing a high-intensity modulated laser beam at them.

The logistics support systems division of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is performing the work under the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership. In this program, Boeing is responsible for providing total system support for the aircraft, including materiel management and depot maintenance.

The system "provides added safety for aircrews that fall into harm's way," said Gus Urzua, Boeing's vice president of product support and the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership program manager.

The contract also covers hardware installation and related labor. Boeing will perform the work at its facilities in Long Beach, Calif., and San Antonio, Texas. The work is to be completed by March 2007.

With the contract modification, Boeing is now upgrading a total of 56 C-17s with the LAIRCM system, and has already delivered 25 upgraded aircraft.

Based in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems provides network-centric systems for military, government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Chicago, the Boeing parent company employs 159,000 workers and had 2004 revenue of $52.5 billion. It ranks No. 10 on Washington Technology's 2005 Top 100 list of federal prime contractors.

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