Northrop Grumman and the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Georgia have inked an agreement that lets the ALC perform work on the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures system, which the Air Force is employing on its tactical and strategic airlift fleet to counter a growing missile threat. Northrop received a contract in mid-2006 to provide LAIRCM for C-130s and C-17s. “The agreement culminates a lot of hard work that has been done behind the scenes by our folks who generate business for us, who generate workload for us, who monitor our business operations,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Atkinson, commander of the ALC’s 402nd Maintenance Wing. Northrop now plans to move its LAIRCM hub from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., to the Warner Robins area, according to the company’s LAIRCM system manager, Phil Robinson, because the ALC will not only perform LAIRCM work on USAF aircraft but also on other US military aircraft. He said, “With the 402nd being part of the [LAIRCM] team, they offer affordable, operational availability for the long term.” Officials expect the LAIRCM workload at the ALC to ramp up from around 500 hours a year over the next two years to about 8,500 hours in 2011. (Robins report by Wayne Crenshaw)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.