Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

USSF-67 mission

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Long Duration Propulsive Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) LDPE-3A spacecraft launched successfully in support of the USSF-67 mission. This spacecraft helps advance rapid access to space for the U.S. Space Force and marks the third successful launch in the LDPE program.

LDPE-3A
The ESPAStar platform (as pictured) can accommodate up to six payloads with independent mission objectives (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

The LDPE-3A was built using Northrop Grumman’s ESPAStar, providing rapid access to space by maximizing the available volume inside a launch vehicle. This bus carries hardware for five independent missions, eliminating the need for each mission to wait for a future launch opportunity.

«From conception and development of next-generation space technology, like ESPAStar, to on-orbit command and control, we are prepared to support the full lifecycle of our customer’s missions throughout the ever-evolving threat environment», said Troy Brashear, vice president, national security systems, Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman also designed, developed and implemented the command and control, and mission execution software system for the LDPE program. The software system uses a common baseline across multiple programs, putting more capability in the hands of customer operators at a lower cost.

The ESPAStar product employs a customized version of a standard ESPA ring, providing added propulsion, power and avionic subsystems. A SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle will deliver LDPE-3A to near-geosynchronous Earth orbit for a one-year mission life.

USSF-67 is the third mission for the LDPE program. The Northrop Grumman-built LDPE-1 launched aboard the STP-3 mission in December 2021 and LDPE-2 aboard the USSF-44 mission in November 2022. Northrop Grumman will continue to deliver future ESPAStar spacecrafts, mission systems engineering, ground software systems and hardware platforms for critical USSF missions.

Next Generation Radar

Northrop Grumman Corporation is developing AN/APG-85, an advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for the F-35 Lightning II. Northrop Grumman currently manufactures the AN/APG-81 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) fire control radar, the cornerstone to the F-35 Lightning II’s sensor suite.

AN/APG-85
Northrop Grumman is developing the next generation radar for the F-35 Lightning II (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

The AN/APG-85 is an advanced multifunction sensor that will be compatible with all variants of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft and will be capable of defeating current and projected adversarial air and surface threats.

The development and integration of APG-85 will incorporate some of the latest technologies available and help ensure air superiority. This advanced sensor will provide unparalleled battlespace situational awareness that translates into platform lethality, effectiveness and survivability.

Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernization, sustainment and production of the F-35 Lightning II. In addition to producing the AN/APG-85 and AN/APG-81 radars, the company manufactures the center fuselage and wing skins for the aircraft, produces and maintains several sensor systems, avionics, mission systems and mission-planning software, pilot and maintainer training systems courseware, electronic warfare simulation test capability, and low-observable technologies.

Rocket Motor Production

Northrop Grumman Corporation will assume production of rocket motors for the U.S. Army’s Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), fulfilling the full contract production quantity. The company recently delivered its 15,000th rocket motor and 20,000th warhead to Lockheed Martin for final assembly.

GMLRS
Northrop Grumman will assume production of rocket motors for the U.S. Army’s Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) (Photo credit: Lockheed Martin)

«We are proactively investing in production facilities and technologies in support of producing even higher rates of rocket motors faster and more affordably to meet our customer’s anticipated demand», said Jim Kalberer, vice president of missile products, Northrop Grumman. «We are leveraging our capacity and modern manufacturing facilities to deliver critical military needs».

The propulsion system, once delivered to Lockheed Martin’s Camden, Arkansas, final assembly facility, will be integrated into GMLRS missiles – a ballistic rocket designed to engage targets from 15 to 70 kilometers/9.3 to 43.5 miles. Northrop Grumman’s safety enhancing insensitive munition provides the system structural integrity under extreme conditions such as heat, shock and adjacent detonations. The ignition safety device further improves the weapon system’s safety characteristics by preventing unwanted combustion.

«Northrop Grumman is a trusted supplier of GMLRS rocket motors with robust manufacturing capacity to meet the demands of our customer», said Jay Price, vice president of Precision Fires for Lockheed Martin.

Northrop Grumman designed and constructed a purpose-built manufacturing facility at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center, West Virginia, using lean manufacturing and digital engineering techniques which enables a robust and resilient Defense Industrial Base. The facility provides for the efficient design, development and production of this critical weapon system component.

Extended Range

Northrop Grumman Corporation has completed the fourth successful flight test of its AGM-88G Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER). The U.S. Navy launched the missile from an F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft on November 30 at the Point Mugu Sea Range off the coast of southern California, successfully engaging an operationally-representative, moving maritime target.

AARGM-ER
Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile is launched from a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft (credit U.S. Navy)

«AARGM-ER’s performance during testing continues to validate the missile’s ability to detect, identify, locate and effectively engage critical air-defense targets from an extended range», said captain Alex Dutko, Navy Program Manager for Direct and Time Sensitive Strike (PMA-242). «This test proved the systems’ ability to engage moving maritime targets, a vital capability supporting our Navy’s ability to control sea lanes during conflict. Congratulations to the government/industry team for their continual focus on delivering this crucial capability to our warfighters».

Northrop Grumman is currently under contract to deliver production units of AARGM-ER to support Initial Operational Capability (IOC) fielding within the next two years. Northrop Grumman has received a Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract for the first and second lots of AARGM-ER.

AARGM-ER leverages existing AARGM sensors, electronics and digital models with the addition of a new high-performance air vehicle, solid rocket motor and advanced warhead to provide vital counter-air-defense capability for U.S Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps warfighters.

«The necessity for a reliable, standoff, survivable weapon continues to grow as our adversaries’ threat systems become longer range and more lethal», said Gordon Turner, vice president, advanced weapons, Northrop Grumman. «AARGM-ER continues to demonstrate the ability to affordably meet mission requirements and safeguard those protecting our country».

AARGM-ER is being integrated on the Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft as well as the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

The unveiling of the Raider

Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Air Force unveiled the B-21 Raider to the world on December 02, 2022. The B-21 Raider joins the nuclear triad as a visible and flexible deterrent designed for the U.S. Air Force to meet its most complex missions.

B-21 Raider
Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force introduce the B-21 Raider, the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

«The Northrop Grumman team develops and delivers technology that advances science, looks into the future and brings it to the here and now», said Kathy Warden, chair, chief executive officer and president, Northrop Grumman. «The B-21 Raider defines a new era in technology and strengthens America’s role of delivering peace through deterrence».

The B-21 Raider forms the backbone of the future for U.S. air power, leading a powerful family of systems that deliver a new era of capability and flexibility through advanced integration of data, sensors and weapons. Its sixth-generation capabilities include stealth, information advantage and open architecture.

«The B-21 Raider is a testament to America’s enduring advantages in ingenuity and innovation. And it’s proof of the Department’s long-term commitment to building advanced capabilities that will fortify America’s ability to deter aggression, today and into the future. Now, strengthening and sustaining U.S. deterrence is at the heart of our National Defense Strategy», said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. «This bomber was built on a foundation of strong, bipartisan support in Congress. And because of that support, we will soon fly this aircraft, test it and then move into production».

The B-21 Raider is capable of networking across the battlespace to multiple systems, and into all domains. Supported by a digital ecosystem throughout its lifecycle, the B-21 Raider can quickly evolve through rapid technology upgrades that provide new capabilities to outpace future threats.

«With the B-21 Raider, the U.S. Air Force will be able to deter or defeat threats anywhere in the world», said Tom Jones, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems. «The B-21 Raider exemplifies how Northrop Grumman is leading the industry in digital transformation and digital engineering, ultimately delivering more value to our customers».

The B-21 Raider is named in honor of the Doolittle Raids of World War II when 80 men, led by Lieutenant Colonel James «Jimmy» Doolittle, and 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers set off on a mission that changed the course of World War II. The designation B-21 recognizes the Raider as the first bomber of the 21st century.

Artemis I mission

Two Northrop Grumman Corporation five-segment solid rocket boosters helped successfully launch the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket from Pad 39B in Kennedy Space Center, Florida as part of the Artemis I mission. This is the first in a series of Artemis missions focused on deep space exploration and establishing a sustainable human presence on and around the moon.

Space Launch System (SLS)
NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, with twin Northrop Grumman solid rocket boosters, lifts off for the first Artemis program launch (Photo Credit: Northrop Grumman)

«The SLS rocket was launched by a powerful 7.2 million pounds/3,265,865 kg of thrust from our solid rocket boosters which are largest, human-rated solid rocket boosters ever built», said Wendy Williams, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman. «Northop Grumman has been pioneering in space for over 50 years and our contributions to NASA’s Artemis missions continue our incredible legacy of innovation».

Booster segments for Artemis II, the first crewed mission, and Artemis III, the mission that will land the first woman on the lunar surface, are complete. Artemis IV segments are currently being cast with propellant. Northrop Grumman supplied rocket propulsion for NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle programs and developed the five-segment SLS solid rocket booster based on the flight-proven design of the space shuttle boosters. The company will provide ongoing support for SLS and the Artemis missions through 2031.

TITAN

Northrop Grumman Corporation delivered its Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN) space pre-prototype ground system to the U.S. Army for demonstration at Project Convergence 2022 – a military exercise aimed at advancing the Army’s role in Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) capabilities. The pre-prototype is the preliminary model of the first of two space prototypes Northrop Grumman is developing for the Defense Innovation Unit and the Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) office.

TITAN
Northrop Grumman demonstrated and delivered the semi-autonomous, mobile TITAN pre-prototype system to the US Army and provided support during Project Convergence 2022

The mobile, semi-autonomous pre-prototype system leverages commercial and military space assets to facilitate deep-sensing, reduce sensor-to-shooter timelines and maximize the effectiveness of long-range precision fires. This new capability fully integrates data from multiple assets into a single mobile system. The groundbreaking technology supports the Department of Defense’s strategy for its JADC2 network to conduct multi-domain operations.

«Our TITAN solution is a pioneering technology integrating critical space capabilities into a mobile system», said Pablo Pezzimenti, vice president, integrated national systems, Northrop Grumman. «Our unique ability to provide access to multi-domain, actionable intelligence from commercial and military space systems directly contributes to success on the battlefield by helping the warfighter make quicker decisions when every second counts».

The prototype capabilities are part of a larger TITAN program, a scalable and expeditionary intelligence ground station that will leverage space, high altitude, aerial and terrestrial layer sensors to provide targetable data to commanders at all levels so they can quickly assess threats. The system will also connect the joint force by providing near real-time intelligence using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to rapidly deliver fused data from multi-domain sensors to weapon platforms, such as artillery, jammers and airborne systems.

Airborne Early Warning

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s first Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) sensor was successfully installed on an E-7 Wedgetail Mk1 Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft for the UK’s Royal Air Force. Equipped with the MESA sensor the UK’s Wedgetail fleet will be strengthened with an airborne sensing capability at longer ranges, enabling critical early warning, surveillance and air battle management functionality.

E-7 Wedgetail Mk1 AEW&C
Northrop Grumman’s Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) sensor has been installed on an E-7 Wedgetail Mk1 Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft for the UK’s Royal Air Force (Photo Courtesy of Boeing)

«Northrop Grumman’s in-service, combat-proven MESA system already provides mission crews with advanced Airborne Moving Target Indication (MTI) capability to support NATO assurance missions against evolving threats», said Jack Hawkins, director, MESA, Northrop Grumman. «This advanced MTI will enhance UK forces’ ability to simultaneously detect, track and identify airborne and maritime adversary targets at long range, while maintaining continuous surveillance of the operational area».

Utilizing an active production line, Northrop Grumman’s MESA sensor provides warfighters with critical domain awareness in all weather conditions. With the flexibility to adapt to missions, threats and environments, this modern Airborne Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) sensor provides 360-degree situational awareness and can be optimized so operators can focus on priority missions, rapidly revisit targets, and pass relevant information to enable timely command and control decisions, and engagement of threats at long ranges.

Australia, Turkey and South Korea have fielded AEW&C systems, with production underway on the second and third systems for the UK’s E-7 Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft.

Vulcan Centaur

Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered the first two 63-inch-diameter/160-centimeter- diameter extended length Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 63XL) to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida.

GEM 63XL
Northrop Grumman Delivers First GEM 63XL Solid Rocket Boosters to Support Vulcan First Flight

The solid rocket boosters will support the inaugural flight of United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Vulcan Centaur rocket planned for first quarter 2023. At approximately 72-feet-long/22-meters-long, and weighing over 117,000 pounds/53,070 kg, the GEM 63XL is the longest monolithic single-cast solid rocket motor ever produced. Together the two boosters will provide nearly one million pounds of additional thrust for ULA’s Vulcan rocket with each booster contributing over 463,200 pounds/210,104 kgf of thrust at launch.

Manta Ray

A Manta Ray is a social creature that frequents the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Their curiosity and playful nature make the Manta Ray a favorite among scuba divers. Inspired by the graceful glide of these magnificent sea creatures, Northrop Grumman is creating a new class of Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUV) for undersea missions.

Manta Ray
Artist’s concept of Northrop Grumman’s unmanned underwater vehicle, Manta Ray

Northrop Grumman has been pioneering new capabilities in the undersea domain for more than 50 years. Manta Ray, a new unmanned underwater vehicle, taking its name from the massive «winged» fish, will need to be able to operate on long-duration, long-range missions in ocean environments without need for on-site human logistics support – a unique but important mission needed to address the complex nature of undersea warfare.

Northrop Grumman is developing its unique full-scale demonstration vehicle using several novel design attributes that support the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) vision of providing ground-breaking technology to create strategic surprise. Manta Ray will also be able to anchor to the seafloor in a low power state while harvesting energy from the environment.

«At Northrop Grumman, we’re creating a new type of unmanned underwater vehicle», said Todd Leavitt, vice president, naval and oceanic systems, Northrop Grumman. «Our design can carry large payloads over long distances without the need for maintenance or refueling».

Manta Ray will have Command, Control, and Communications (C3) capability to enable long-duration operations with minimal human supervision. The data from Manta Ray will help the joint force make better decisions and gain advantage during missions.

«Manta Ray will provide payload capability from the sea, making it a critical component of subsea warfare and the DoD’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) vision», said Alan Lytle, vice president, strategy and mission solutions, Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman was recently awarded a Phase 2 contract to continue the Manta Ray program that began in 2020. As part of Phase 2, Northrop Grumman will work on subsystem testing followed by fabrication and in-water demonstrations of full-scale integrated vehicles. The company also broke ground on a new system integration and test lab that will use modeling and simulation to test the system’s software before getting loaded onto the vehicle.