Egypt has requested the sale of a Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system for head-of-state aircraft and Sniper targeting pods from the United States in two deals worth a combined $170 million.
The US State Department approved the possible foreign military sale of the Northrop Grumman LAIRCM system on 29 December for an estimated cost of $104 million. The AN/AAQ-24 system will be used on an Airbus A340-200 aircraft.
Each LAIRCM system consists of three Guardian Laser Turret Assemblies (GLTA), five Missile Warning Sensors (MWS) and other items. The system provides 360-degree protection against a wide range of missile threats. When it detects a missile launch, it tracks the incoming missile and uses a laser beam to jam the missile’s guidance system. The system is contained almost entirely in a single pod that mounts to the underside of the fuselage and can be moved easily from one aircraft to another.
Also on 29 December, the US State Department approved the possible foreign military sale to Egypt of 20 Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATPs) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $65.6 million.
The AN/AAQ-33 Sniper provides positive target identification, autonomous tracking, GPS coordinate generation, and precise weapons guidance from extended standoff ranges.
“The proposed sale will improve Egypt’s capability and effectiveness to meet current and future threats by providing additional precision targeting capability to conduct border security and counterterrorism operations. The added precision strike capability will better enable Egypt to conduct operations while minimizing collateral damage,” the Defence Security Cooperation Agency said.
Egypt has in the past ordered LANTIRN targeting pods from the United States as well as Sniper targeting pods (the Sniper succeeded LANTIRN). Snipers were originally bought for Egypt’s fleet of Block 50/52 F-16 fighters in 2011. They feature a laser designator, forward looking infrared (FLIR) imager and CCD camera as well as a video datalink.
Egypt also uses the Goodrich Corporation DB-110 airborne reconnaissance system for its F-16s, and was the eighth country to select the pod.