ON WEDNESDAY, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency of the United States notified Congress that the State Department has approved a possible foreign military sale to India — two 777 Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) Self-Protection Suites (SPS), for an estimated $190 million. These systems will protect protect two Boeing-777 Head-of-State aircraft. According to a PTI report, this would bring the security of Air India One at par with that of Air Force One, the aircraft used by the American President.
LAIRCM is a programme meant to protect large aircraft from man-portable missiles. It increases crew-warning time, decreases false alarm rates and automatically counters advanced infrared missile systems. In a 2016 document, the Defense Technical Information Centre of the US Defense Department explained that LAIRCM consists of missile warning sensors (MWS), a laser transmitter assembly, control interface unit (CIU) and processors to detect, track, jam and counter incoming infrared missiles. The number of sensors and transmitter assemblies per aircraft is determined by the size and signature of the aircraft.
The components of the potential sale were listed in a US Defense Security Agency news release: 12 Guardian Laser Transmitter Assemblies (6 installed and 6 spares); 8 LAIRCM System Processor Replacements (2 installed and 6 spares); 23 Missile Warning Sensors (12 installed and 11 spares); 5 Counter-Measures Dispensing System (2 installed and 3 spares); and various others.
The release said the proposed sale will improve India’s capability to deter regional threats, and will support the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship.