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Guardian Commercial Airliner Anti-Missile System Achieves 6,000 Operational Hours Milestone

The Guardian system consists of a multi-band laser pointer/tracker and an ultraviolet missile warning sensor. The system is contained almost entirely in a single pod that mounts to the underside of the fuselage. The total Guardian system "fly-away" weight is 550 pounds. The Guardian pod is a low-profile package, protruding just 18 inches into the air stream.
by Staff Writers
Rolling Meadows IL (SPX) Aug 29, 2007
Northrop Grumman has announced the achievement of more than 6,000 on-aircraft operational hours for the Guardian Counter-Man Portable Air Defense System (C-MANPADS) currently installed on seven wide-body cargo aircraft flying daily in commercial revenue service.

"This milestone marks an important event for Northrop Grumman and the aviation industry. For the first time, we have been able to collect valuable logistics data while operating Guardian on aircraft in routine commercial service," said Jeff Palombo, vice president of Infrared Countermeasures at Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division. "This data proves the Guardian system is a viable concept for commercial applications to protect aircraft from today's modern MANPADS threats."

Under the terms of the operational test and evaluation portion of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) C-MANPADS program, which concludes in March 2008, a Northrop Grumman-led industry team has completed production of 12 Guardian missile defense systems with successful installation to date on seven MD-10 aircraft. The purpose of this evaluation phase is to collect reliability data in a standard, day-to-day operational environment and, as of July 31, the Guardian system has achieved a cumulative total of 5,163 on-aircraft operating hours during more than 1,150 revenue service flights.

The Guardian system is a defensive aid utilizing proven military technology to defend against the commercial aviation threat posed by anti-aircraft, shoulder-fired missiles. Once launched, the missile is detected by the Guardian system, which then directs a non-visible, eye-safe laser to the seeker of the incoming missile, disrupting its guidance signals, and protecting the aircraft.

To date, Northrop Grumman has completed an extensive flight test program in commercial test operational environments that included the use of a ground-based electronic missile surrogate to simulate the launch of a shoulder-fired missile toward aircraft during takeoff and landing. The tests were performed on an MD-11, an MD-10 and a B-747 aircraft. In each test, the Guardian system functioned as designed, automatically detecting the simulated launch and mock missile.

The company's Guardian system makes use of multi-band laser and other technologies from the company's military directional infrared countermeasures system, the only such protection system currently in production for the U.S. military and several allied nations.

Northrop Grumman's Guardian system was developed as part of the Department of Homeland Security's initiative aimed at protecting commercial aircraft from attack by ground-based, shoulder-fired missiles. The DHS program is focused on demonstrating the viability, economics and effectiveness of adapting existing military technology to protect commercial aircraft, both passenger and cargo, from this terrorist threat.

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C-17S In Alaska Ramp Up To Go Operational
Elmendorf AFB AL (AFNS) Aug 29, 2007
Long-range, heavy airlift resources for wartime and humanitarian efforts across the globe will be a day's flying time closer to the need in less than a month. The 517th Airlift Squadron, a former C-130 Hercules unit, is in the process of becoming operational as a C-17 Globemaster III unit.

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