Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

NATO AGS Force

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s, NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) RQ-4D Phoenix Global Hawk has reached a major milestone with the NATO AGS Management Agency (NAGSMA)’s Full System Handover to the NATO AGS Force (NAGSF) at the Main Operating Base, Sigonella, Sicily. The specially-designed AGS system is uniquely suited to NATO requirements and is providing critical Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) situational awareness to the 30 NATO member countries.

RQ-4D Phoenix Global Hawk
NATO AGS RQ-4D Phoenix Global Hawk

The NATO AGS Full System Handover is comprised of five aircraft, ground and support segments, along with advanced sensor technologies. Since the first of five aircraft arrived at the main operating base in Sigonella, Italy in 2019, operational flight hours have steadily increased, including the recent first 24-hour mission.

«This Full System Handover is an important milestone for the NATO AGS community, government and industry», said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, global surveillance, Northrop Grumman. «The NATO AGS system is a force multiplier supporting the Alliance mission of deterring threats and protecting security across NATO member countries».

The RQ-4D Phoenix High-Altitude, Long-Endurance (HALE) system provides ubiquitous and unparalleled Joint ISR data to NATO. The wide area surveillance provided by Global Hawk and the fixed, mobile and transportable ground stations in the system support a range of missions, including: protection of ground troops and civilian populations; border control; crisis management; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, every day of the year.

Northrop Grumman’s family of autonomous HALE systems, including Global Hawk, is a critical component of networked, global ISR collection for allied nations. Global Hawk collects vital information to enable allied commanders to make informed and rapid decisions to preserve global security.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.

Long lead items

The Department of the Air Force awarded $108 million to Northrop Grumman for advance procurement to support the B-21 Raider program.

B-21 Raider
Air Force awards B-21 Raider advance procurement to support acquisition of long lead items for production

Advance procurement funds will directly support the acquisition of long lead items necessary to build the first lot of production B-21 Raider aircraft. The award of advance procurement reaffirms the Air Force’s commitment to fielding what will become the backbone of the 21st century bomber fleet.

«The B-21 Raider program is foundational to the Air Force’s operational imperative for an effective, long-range strike family of systems to guarantee our ability to strike any target, anytime, anywhere, even in the most contested environment», said Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown, Jr.

«As the Air Force celebrates its 75th anniversary, the Raider is a standout example of the innovation and pursuit of game-changing technology that has characterized our service since its inception», Brown continued. «The quality of the aircraft build, coupled with its open systems architecture design and built-in margin for future growth, will provide our warfighters the competitive advantage we’ll need to deter current and future conflicts, and fight and win if called upon to do so».

The B-21 Raider test aircraft currently being manufactured under the Engineering and Manufacturing Development contract with Northrop Grumman are being built on the same production line, using the same tooling, processes and technicians to build the production aircraft.

«The B-21 Raider test aircraft are the most production-representative aircraft, both structurally and in its mission systems, at this point in a program, that I’ve observed in my career. The right decisions are being made on this program to pave the way for a high-fidelity flight test campaign and an effective transition to production», shared Randall Walden, Department of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office director.

The first B-21 Raider flight test aircraft recently entered loads calibration to undergo verification and validation testing of its structural design prior to flight. After loads calibration, further integration and ground testing will inform the program schedule and flight readiness.

Progress continues across all elements of the B-21 Raider program. The fiscal year 2022 Defense Appropriations Act provided funding for five new military construction projects to stand-up the B-21 Raider mission at Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB), South Dakota, the Raider’s first main operating base. Construction of a low observable maintenance hangar, the first of its kind on the 80-year-old conventional bomber base, is already underway.

An environmental impact statement is set to begin this year to inform final decisions on the second and third main operating bases to bed-down the full B-21 Raider fleet. As announced by the Secretary of the Air Force in 2019, preferred locations for the second and third B-21 Raider main operating bases are Whiteman AFB, Missouri, and Dyess AFB, Texas, respectively.

Japan’s Global Hawks

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully ferried the first of Japan’s three RQ-4B Global Hawks via a non-stop transpacific flight. The aircraft departed on Thursday, March 10, from Palmdale, California landing 18.7 hours later on March 12 at Misawa Air Base, Misawa, Japan.

RQ-4B Global Hawk
Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4B Global Hawk aircraft will provide the Japan Air Self-Defense Force with persistent, high-altitude surveillance of the Indo-Pacific

«The arrival of the first Japan Global Hawk is an important milestone in the development of this critical security asset», said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, global surveillance, Northrop Grumman. «The autonomous Global Hawk will provide the Japan Air Self-Defense Force with persistent, high-altitude surveillance of the Indo-Pacific. Global Hawk’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities will provide invaluable support to Japanese national security and to the security of allies across the region».

RQ-4B Global Hawk, a large High-Altitude, Long-Endurance (HALE) Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle (UAV), is equipped with mission-specific sensors to meet critical ISR needs. This capability will change the way allies monitor threats and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster response day or night. Combined with other Japanese intelligence assets, the advanced UAV will provide solutions to monitor and deter regional threats, contributing to Japan’s national security well into the future.

Northrop Grumman’s family of autonomous HALE systems, including Global Hawk, are critical components of networked, global ISR collection for allied nations around the world. The ISR data enables decision makers to act in a timely manner, deterring aggression and responding to emerging threats. Japan, with its Global Hawk fleet, will be part of a growing list of allied nations operating HALE UAVs. The United States, Australia, NATO and Korea will all be operating versions of this vital national security asset.

E-6B Mercury Aircraft

Northrop Grumman Corporation announced it was recently awarded the Integrated Modification and Maintenance Contract for the U.S. Navy’s E-6B Mercury platform, a derivative of the commercial Boeing 707 aircraft. The work will be performed at Northrop Grumman’s Aircraft Maintenance and Fabrication Center in Lake Charles.

E-6B Mercury
Northrop Grumman selected by U.S. Navy for sustainment and modernization of E-6B Mercury aircraft. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement (Source: U.S. Air Force; Staff Sergeant Jacob Skovo)

«We are laser focused on providing the most relevant capabilities while improving mission readiness», said Mary Petryszyn, corporate vice president and president of Defense Systems at Northrop Grumman. «As leaders in aircraft sustainment and modernization, the U.S. Navy’s E-6B Mercury fleet is another example of our strong partnership with the Navy in achieving those goals».

Over the next five years, Northrop Grumman will perform modifications to the Navy’s E-6B Mercury aircraft improving command, control and communications functions that connect the national command authority with the United States’ Nuclear Triad. The company will establish a consolidated production line for core modifications required under the $111 million contract. Northrop Grumman may also take on additional, smaller modifications and select depot maintenance tasks as required.

As part of the critical Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) strategic communications mission, the E-6B Mercury operates across a wide frequency spectrum to transmit and receive secure and non-secure voice and data information. The aircraft provides survivable, endurable, reliable airborne command, control, and communications in support of the President, Secretary of Defense, and United States Strategic Command.

Northrop Grumman provides sustainment and modernization support that includes: contractor logistics support and fleet stewardship; modifications and upgrades; mission planning, weapon systems development and pilot training; as well as software design engineering and integration solutions on autonomous, tactical, fixed wing and special mission aircraft systems, including:

F-35 Lightning II; P-3 Orion; BACN E-11A; E-8C; A-10 Thunderbolt II; B-2 Spirit; RQ-4 Global Hawk and more. This contract continues the company’s expansive growth in aircraft maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.

Handheld Targeting System

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been selected to provide the U.S. Marine Corps with the Next Generation Handheld Targeting System (NGHTS). This compact targeting device provides unparalleled precision targeting and is capable of operation in GPS-denied environments.

NGHTS
The U.S. Marine Corps has selected Northrop Grumman to provide the Next Generation Handheld Targeting System (NGHTS), a laser-based device that will give Marines an enhanced capability to identify and designate targets from extended ranges

«NGHTS will significantly enhance the ability of Marines to identify ground targets under a wide range of conditions», said Bob Gough, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman. «Connected to military networks, NGHTS can provide superior situational awareness and accurate coordinates for the delivery of effects from beyond the line of sight».

Northrop Grumman’s NGHTS is capable of performing rapid target acquisition, laser terminal guidance operation and laser spot imaging functions. Its high-definition infrared sensors provide accuracy and grid capability over extended ranges. Additional features include a high-definition color display and day/night celestial compasses.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.

AI assistant

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Perceptually-enabled Task Guidance (PTG) program to develop a prototype Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistant. The prototype will be embedded in an Augmented Reality (AR) headset to help rotary pilots perform expected and unexpected tasks.

OCARINA
Northrop Grumman’s prototype AI assistant will help rotary pilots perform expected and unexpected tasks such as augmenting the crew’s response to an engine fire in this example

Northrop Grumman, in partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF), will develop an Operator and Context Adaptive Reasoning Intuitive Assistant (OCARINA) that will support UH-60 Blackhawk pilots, who fly with both visual and instrumented flight, which varies with weather, time of day and other environmental factors.

«The goal of this prototype is to broaden a pilot’s skillset», said Erin Cherry, senior autonomy program manager, Northrop Grumman. «It will help teach new tasks, aide in the recognition and reduction of errors, improve task completion time, and most importantly, help to prevent catastrophic events».

Rotorcraft aircrews face numerous demands particularly when flying in close proximity to buildings, terrain, people and from the threat of adversary RADAR systems. Today, simple warning systems are the most common means for aiding a rotorcraft aircrew, such as auditory alerts to increase altitude. These warning systems are limiting and can induce unanticipated cognitive burdens on pilots. Studies have shown that inattentional blindness to such warnings can occur, often making them ineffective for the aircrew.

DARPA’s PTG program aims to develop AI technologies to help users perform complex mental and physical tasks. The goal is to provide users of PTG AI assistants with wearable sensors that allow the assistant to observe what the user perceives and know what the user knows. Using advanced information processing and an AR interface, the goal of the program is to have the AI assistant provide feedback and guidance through speech and aligned graphics at the right place and time to augment the aircrew.

Using powerful, proven algorithm development and implementation processes, Northrop Grumman develops and integrates leading-edge AI solutions into large, complex, end-to-end mission systems that are essential to our national security. Northrop Grumman’s artificial intelligence systems are developed using responsible AI principles. The company’s AI technologies are equitable, traceable, reliable, governable, auditable and protected against threats.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.

Operational Deployment

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s MQ-8C Fire Scout, the U.S. Navy’s next generation ship-based autonomous helicopter system deployed operationally December 14, 2021. Deployed with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Detachment 5 (HSC-22 DET 5) aboard USS Milwaukee (LCS-5), Fire Scout provides greater organic Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (ISR&T) capabilities for the U.S. Navy.

MQ-8C Fire Scout
An MQ-8C Fire Scout takes off from the flight deck of the USS Milwaukee (LCS 5), January 6, 2022 (Credit: U.S. Navy)

«This is a significant milestone in the MQ-8C Fire Scout program», said Captain Eric Soderberg, U.S. Navy. «The transition from the MQ-8B to the MQ-8C Fire Scout has brought improved sensors and more than doubles the on-station endurance. Advances in Fire Scout’s capabilities further our successful integration of unmanned platforms at sea and the Navy and Marine Corps unmanned campaign plan».

MQ-8C Fire Scout brings increased speed, endurance and payload capacity to maritime operations. The system provides operators 10+ hours of endurance and range of over 1,000 nautical miles/1,151 miles/1,852 km, allowing for adaptable mission sets, including real-time over-the-horizon targeting. When operating with manned aircraft, Fire Scout enables commanders to employ manned assets in a more focused manner.

«Our partnership with the U.S. Navy has been critical in developing Fire Scout’s multi-mission autonomous capabilities which provide greater situational awareness to the joint force», said Lance Eischeid, director, Fire Scout program, Northrop Grumman. «With the ability to operate from a range of surface ships, MQ-8C Fire Scout is a powerful platform that allows the U.S. Navy to increase the detection and tracking of targets through its onboard sensors and integration with manned assets».

MQ-8C Fire Scout leverages a Bell 407 commercial aircraft for its airframe, supporting affordability through reduced lifecycle costs, including initial development, supply chain and flight hour reliability. MQ-8C Fire Scout is also equipped with a Leonardo AN/ZPY-8 (Osprey) radar which enables it to detect and automatically track contacts at extremely long ranges, at night and even in stormy weather conditions when visibility is extremely poor.

Designed in San Diego, California and Fort Worth, Texas by a joint Northrop Grumman/Bell team and manufactured in Ozark, Alabama and Moss Point, Mississippi, the MQ-8C Fire Scout achieved initial operational capability in June 2019 and will begin replacing the MQ-8B Fire Scout variant on upcoming deployments.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.

Manufacturing Milestone

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully delivered the 51st U.S. Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye production aircraft, AA-52. The aircraft represents the last to be delivered under the Multi-Year Procurement (MYP) 1 contract. AA-52 is equipped with the Delta System/Software Configuration (DSSC) Build 3, which provides an additional leap in operational effectiveness and technology for the E-2D with the incorporation of aerial refueling and a dwell-based tracker. MYP 2 deliveries will begin this year, with increasing, game-changing capability enhancements for the U.S. Navy and joint force to outpace evolving threats.

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye
Northrop Grumman Reaches E-2D Manufacturing Milestone

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is a game changer in how the U.S. Navy will conduct battle management command and control. By serving as the «digital quarterback» to sweep ahead of strike, manage the mission, and keep our net-centric carrier battle groups out of harms way, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the key to advancing the mission, no matter what it may be. The E-2D gives the warfighter expanded battlespace awareness, especially in the area of information operations delivering battle management, theater air and missile defense, and multiple sensor fusion capabilities in an airborne system.

With a two-generation leap in radar sensor capability and a robust network enabled capability, the Advanced Hawkeye will deliver critical, actionable data to joint forces and first responders. These advances provide warfighters with the necessary situational awareness to compress the time between initial awareness and active engagement.

Some of the many new features of the Advanced Hawkeye are:

  • A completely new radar featuring both mechanical and electronic scanning capabilities;
  • Fully Integrated «All Glass» Tactical Cockpit;
  • Advanced Identification Friend or Foe System;
  • New Mission Computer and Tactical Workstations;
  • Electronic Support Measures Enhancements;
  • Modernized Communications and Data Link Suite.

These and other new developments incorporated into the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye ensure:

  • True 360-degree radar coverage provides uncompromised all-weather tracking and situational awareness;
  • Open architecture compliant, Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS)-based hardware and software enables rapid, cost-wise technology refresh for consistent leading-edge mission tools;
  • A true FORCEnet enabler – A force multiplier through network enabled capability, Advanced Hawkeye is the gateway to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael G. Mullen’s vision for a «1,000-ship navy»;
  • Multi-mission flexibility ranging from command and control through missile defense to border security.

Space Force-8 Mission

Two Northrop Grumman Corporation Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites were successfully launched into orbit on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket on January 21, 2022 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station as part of the U.S. Space Force (USSF)-8 mission. The two satellites, GSSAP-5 and GSSAP-6, will enhance space situational awareness, a top priority for the U.S. Space Force. In addition to manufacturing and delivering both GSSAP payloads, Northrop Grumman also provided the sole strap-on solid rocket booster adding propulsion to the rocket launch, as well as essential aeronautical components in support of the USSF-8 launch.

GSSAP
Northrop Grumman-built GSSAP satellites collect space situational awareness data allowing for more accurate tracking and characterization of man-made orbiting objects

The GSSAP program delivers a space-based capability operating in a near-Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO), in support of the U.S. Space Command space surveillance operations. GSSAP satellites allow for more accurate tracking and characterization of orbiting objects and uniquely contribute to timely and precise orbital predictions, enhancing knowledge of the GEO environment and improving spaceflight safety. Northrop Grumman has manufactured all GSSAP satellites since the program’s inception in 2011.

«For over a decade, Northrop Grumman has delivered products that improve U.S. Space Command’s ability to monitor human-made orbiting objects in the geosynchronous environment», said Matt Verock, vice president, space security, Northrop Grumman. «As dedicated Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensors, the capabilities our GSSAP satellites bring demonstrate our leadership in space domain awareness».

The company’s facilities in Dulles, Virginia along with Goleta and San Diego, California, and Beltsville, Maryland provided numerous subsystems, including the satellite’s solar arrays, primary structure, thermal control, avionic boxes, flight computer, shunt regulator assembly, composite components and deployable structures.

This was the third ULA Atlas V rocket launch supported by Northrop Grumman’s 63-inch-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM 63). The GEM 63 solid rocket booster, manufactured at the company’s Magna, Utah facility, provided nearly a third of the total thrust at liftoff. The GEM family of solid rocket motors recently expanded with the development of the GEM 63XL variation to support ULA’s Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle, scheduled for its first flight later this year.

The company manufactured the Atlas V rocket’s reaction control system propellant tanks at its Commerce, California, facility, and eight retro motors at its Elkton, Maryland, facility that assist first and second stage separation. Using advanced fiber placement manufacturing and automated inspection techniques, Northrop Grumman produced the composite heat shield that provides essential protection to the Atlas V first-stage engine, the Centaur Interstage Adapter that houses the second-stage engine, and the broadtail that adapts from the core vehicle to the five-meter diameter fairing. Northrop Grumman fabricated these structures at its Iuka, Mississippi, facility.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.

Precision Strike Missile

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully completed a static test of its Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) rocket motor as part of its motor qualification effort. The test supports the necessary requirements to validate the company’s motor design for production.

Precision Strike Missile (PrSM)
The PrSM rocket motor performing a static test at Northrop Grumman’s test facility (Northrop Grumman photo)

«With another successful rocket motor test complete, we are one step closer to providing the U.S. Army with a next-generation, long range fires capability», said Rebecca Torzone, vice president, missile products, Northrop Grumman. «Our new motor delivers enhanced performance that translates to increased weapon load out and standoff for our warfighter».

The test validated that the motor met all performance requirements after being conditioned to extreme cold temperatures. The rocket motor will undergo a series of additional qualification tests before initial fielding in 2023.

PrSM will replace the Army’s Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), significantly extending range and doubling the load out by providing two missiles per launch pod versus ATACMS’ single missile. This upgrade is made possible by the new Northrop Grumman PrSM rocket motor, which incorporates the latest high performance solid propulsion technologies as well as enhanced soldier-safety features.

Northrop Grumman will produce the PrSM propulsion system at its manufacturing facility at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center. The company’s investments in digital technologies drive affordability in one of the world’s most modern and efficient tactical solid rocket motor production facilities.

These advancements allow for the quick turnaround of a production ready PrSM system to support the U.S. Army’s request for an early operational capability. The efficiency achieved from digital transformation ensures the warfighter is equipped quicker than ever before.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.