Boeing and Elbit to Cooperate on Military Airplane Defense

On Tuesday, defense contractors Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) and Elbit Systems (NASDAQ: ESLT  ) jointly announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore opportunities to deploy Elbit's Directed Infrared Counter Measure (DIRCM) systems aboard a range of Boeing military fixed-wing and vertical-lift aircraft.

Elbit's DIRCM systems are "lightweight, compact systems designed to protect aircraft from common battlefield threats," essentially by blinding incoming air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles with infrared laser beams. Boeing, for its part, sees the product as potentially "enhancing [its] portfolio [of aircraft] with innovative capabilities for a variety of solutions."

In response to an inquiry, Dalia Rosen, Elbit vice president and head of corporate communications, said, "we are working with individual customers regarding this capability," suggesting that Boeing may not be the only U.S. warplane maker interested in it. However, at this time, the memorandum in question specifies only that Elbit will be cooperating with Boeing on this system.

Elbit recently announced the development -- and planned deployment across all civilian airlines operating in Israel -- of a related system called the Commercial Multi-Spectral Infrared Countermeasure system (C-MUSIC). The airplane C-MUSIC was mounted upon during testing was a Boeing 707.

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