Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

New Capabilities

Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered a pair of sensors to enhance the capability of its Global Hawk high-altitude long-endurance autonomous aircraft system. Enhancements include the deployment of the MS-177 multi-spectral camera system to provide additional high resolution imaging capability for operational users. The second new capability is the first fielding of the increment 1 upgraded AN/ASQ-230 system on Global Hawk to meet expanded electronic threats.

Global Hawk
Global Hawk takes off equipped with a MS-177 multi-spectral camera system. MS-177 provides high resolution imaging capability for operational users

The MS-177 camera system provides multiple channels of intelligence collection in visible and infrared bands and provides a dramatic increase in multi-spectral imaging capacity. When paired with a Global Hawk platform, the MS-177 provides collection coverage in areas that cannot easily be reached by other means. Fielding of the AN/ASQ-230 increment 1 enhances Global Hawk’s support against electronic threats.

«Ongoing improvements to Global Hawk underscore Northrop Grumman’s commitment to the United States Air Force’s ISR mission and reducing costs through agile development and leveraged solutions», said Leslie Smith, vice president, Global Hawk, Northrop Grumman. «New and improved payloads flying on our young, yet proven fleet of aircraft will allow our partners to deploy high value, networked assets to monitor adversaries while not risking the lives of military personnel well into the 2040s».

Global Hawk’s combination of autonomy, range, endurance and payload, and an average aircraft age of under nine years, make Global Hawk a valuable asset for domestic and international customers with critical ISR collection requirements. The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments recently published a report highlighting the key role systems like Global Hawk play around the globe.

In the future, Global Hawk is uniquely positioned for additional missions that connect the joint force as one, including persistent high capacity backbone, pseudo-satellite communications coverage, and joint all-domain command and control.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Strategic Deterrent

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) was selected by the U.S. Air Force to modernize the nation’s aging InterContinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) system under a $13.3 billion contract awarded on September 08, 2020 for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program.

Northrop Grumman will lead a nationwide team to deliver the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program

The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center announced that the effort will span 8.5 years and include weapon system design, qualification, test and evaluation and nuclear certification. Upon successful completion of EMD, the Northrop Grumman team will begin producing and delivering a modern and fully integrated weapon system to meet the Air Force schedule of initial operational capability by 2029.

«Our nation is facing a rapidly evolving threat environment and protecting our citizens with a modern strategic deterrent capability has never been more critical», said Kathy Warden, chairman, chief executive officer and president, Northrop Grumman. «With more than 65 years of technical leadership on every ICBM system, our nationwide team is honored and committed to continuing our partnership with the U.S. Air Force to deliver a safe, secure and effective system that will contribute to global stability for years to come».

The EMD award follows a highly successful three-year Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) phase-one effort under the GBSD competition. The Northrop Grumman team has demonstrated innovation and agility by applying a digital engineering approach and has achieved all TMRR design review milestones on time and on cost.

Work on the program will be performed at the Northrop Grumman GBSD facilities in Roy and Promontory, Utah, as well as other key Northrop Grumman sites across the U.S. that include Huntsville and Montgomery, Alabama; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Bellevue, Nebraska; San Diego and Woodland Hills, California; Chandler, Arizona; Annapolis Junction, Maryland; and at our nationwide team locations across the country.

The Northrop Grumman GBSD team includes Aerojet Rocketdyne, Bechtel, Clark Construction, Collins Aerospace, General Dynamics, HDT Global, Honeywell, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, L3Harris, Lockheed Martin, Textron Systems, as well as hundreds of small and medium-sized companies from across the defense, engineering and construction industries. Overall, the GBSD program will involve over 10,000 people across the U.S. directly working on this vital national security program. For more information, please visit: www.northropgrumman.com/gbsd.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

TITAN system

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been selected by the Defense Innovation Unit and the U.S. Army Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) office to develop two prototype ground stations for the Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN) system.

Northrop Grumman Developing Ground Station Prototypes for US Army’s TITAN Program

The TITAN system will be a scalable and expeditionary intelligence ground station that will leverage space, high altitude, aerial and terrestrial layer sensors to provide targetable data that allows commanders at all echelons to quickly assess threats to their forces. In this prototype effort, Northrop Grumman’s deployable and semi-autonomous ground station prototypes will demonstrate the value of space assets in improving battlefield awareness and tactical intelligence in Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD) environments.

The system will also help 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.

«Our ground station prototypes will integrate existing software and hardware capabilities to showcase a unique ability to provide access to multi-domain actionable intelligence from commercial and military space systems», said Troy Brashear, vice president, integrated national systems, Northrop Grumman. «As a proven provider of multi-domain intelligence capabilities, we give the warfighter the ability to complete critical missions in far-reaching and highly-contested areas in a safe and deployable environment».

By leveraging commercial and military space assets, the system will facilitate deep-sensing, reduce Sensor-to-Shooter (S2S) timelines, and maximize the effectiveness of Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF).

A separate TITAN acquisition will provide mobile ground stations that link to terrestrial, high-altitude and airborne sensors to provide targeting data to the Army. Northrop Grumman teams recently demonstrated a software architecture to the Army that is capable of fusing multi-domain sensor data and reducing the sensor-to-shooter timelines. This common software architecture is the basis of the Northrop Grumman space-to-ground TITAN prototype system, potentially enhancing the integration of space-based data systems with the mobile ground stations in later phases of the TITAN program.

The prototype phases are expected to support multiple demonstration exercises in 2022 and 2023.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Flight test

The U.S. Army successfully engaged multiple targets during a flight test using the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS). The test, conducted as part of the IBCS Limited User Test (LUT), demonstrated IBCS’ ability to maintain continuous track custody of the targets, despite contested environment conditions, by fusing data from multiple sensors.

A Northrop Grumman produced Engagement Operations Center (EOC) and Interactive Collaborative Environment (ICE) emplaced at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico for the IBCS Limited User Test (Source U.S. Army)

«We are extremely pleased with how IBCS performed during this flight test», said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. «We have been working on an extraordinary command and control system in partnership with the U.S. Army, and our goals are the same – to get this capability into the hands of the warfighter as soon as possible».

The first of two planned operational flight tests was conducted at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico by the soldiers from the U.S. Army 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Regiment. The test’s defense laydown included an Air and Missile Defense task force including two Battery and 1 Battalion engagement operations centers, two Patriot and Sentinel radars, and three Patriot Advanced Capability Three (PAC-3) launchers connected at the component level, to the IBCS Integrated Fire Control Network (IFCN).

The test began when two cruise missile surrogate threats were launched and flew at a low altitude in a maneuvering formation through a mountain range towards defended assets. IBCS fused real-time data from all sensors into a single, accurate composite track for each threat. The soldiers were presented with engagement solutions computed by IBCS which were then executed. The soldiers launched two PAC-3 missiles controlled by IBCS that successfully intercepted both threats. IBCS was able to perform all functions successfully despite being subjected to contested environment conditions designed to disrupt the IFCN network, demonstrating the resilience and survivability of the system.

The Limited User Test, which comprises several tests, is intended to simulate realistic warfighting operations and place performance stresses on the systems to ensure it will perform as intended under the most rigorous circumstances once deployed. This LUT is conducted to inform a Milestone C decision which will transition the IBCS program into the production and operational testing phase.

IBCS utilizes multiple sensors and effectors to extend the battlespace, engage threats providing 360° protection, increases survivability by enabling early detection and continuous tracking, and delivers transformational warfighting capabilities to defeat an increasingly complex threat.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

First Qualification Test

Northrop Grumman Corporation conducted its first ground test of an extended length 63-inch-diameter/160-centimeter-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM 63XL) on August 13, 2020 in Promontory, Utah. This variation of the company’s GEM 63 strap-on booster was developed in partnership with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide additional lift capability to the Vulcan Centaur vehicle.

Northrop Grumman conducted the first test of its GEM 63XL rocket motor to serve the United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur on August 13 at its Promontory, Utah, facility

«Our new GEM 63XL motors leverage its flight-proven heritage while utilizing state-of-the-art manufacturing technology to enhance launch vehicle heavy-lift capabilities», said Charlie Precourt, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman. «The GEM 63XL increases thrust and performance by 15-20 percent compared to a standard GEM 63».

During today’s static test, the motor fired for approximately 90 seconds, producing nearly 449,000 pounds/203,663 kg of thrust to qualify the motor’s internal insulation, propellant grain, ballistics and nozzle in a cold-conditioned environment. This test demonstrated materials and technologies similar to the GEM 63 rocket motor that qualified for flight in October 2019.

Northrop Grumman has supplied rocket propulsion to ULA and its heritage companies for a variety of launch vehicles since 1964. The GEM family of strap-on motors was developed starting in the early 1980s with the GEM 40 to support the Delta II launch vehicle. The company then followed with the GEM 46 for the Delta II Heavy, and the GEM 60, which flew 86 motors over 26 Delta IV launches before retiring in 2019 with 100 percent success. The first flight of the GEM 63 motors will be on a ULA Atlas V launch vehicle planned for fourth quarter 2020, and GEM 63XL motors will support the Vulcan rocket in 2021.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

The GEM 63XL motor being prepared for static test firing in a Test Area test bay

UUV Charging Station

Northrop Grumman and Seatrec, Inc. were recently winners of an Explorer Prize, which concluded the Discovery competition phase of the Powering the Blue Economy Ocean Observing Prize, sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The competition is designed to bring innovative technology in marine renewable energy to enable more persistent and pervasive ocean observing, a growth multiplier in the overall contribution of the ocean to the economy also known as the Blue Economy.

Northrop Grumman and Seatrec Recognized for Self-Sustaining Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Charging Station Design

The two companies teamed and submitted the Mission Unlimited UUV Station, to power and transfer data from Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV). The next phase is the Develop competition, where the winners of this prize will actually produce their designs.

Endurance and range improvements for UUVs have seen incremental improvements over the last 20 years as batteries gradually improved, but UUVs and autonomous undersea vehicles (AUVs) are still energy-limited. Typically, they must make a near surface approach at least once a day to offload data to assets above the water line or receive a power recharge by a costly surface vessel reducing the time spent on mission.

The Mission Unlimited UUV Station proposal submitted by the team can significantly reduce daily vessel costs and extends operational time, by integrating three key technologies working together to seamlessly power and transfer data from unmanned underwater vehicles:

  • NiobiCon connectors charge the UUVs: Northrop Grumman’s self-insulating electrical connector can be mated or de-mated while the fully powered electrical contacts are submerged underwater.
  • Thermal energy harvesting provides unlimited energy: Seatrec’s innovation extracts energy from the ocean’s vertical temperature gradient and converts it to stored electricity.
  • Data bubbles transfer data: Northrop Grumman’s data bubbles transport large amounts of data from the subsea to the end-user by Radio Frequency (RF) satellite communications.
Two Seatrec Inc energy harvesting modules attached to a profiling float going as deep as 1000 m/3281 feet

«The Mission Unlimited UUV Station design will provide scalable underwater charging and data transfer», said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman. «Extending the endurance, working time and utility of unmanned underwater vehicles directly supports the U.S. Navy’s focus on distributed maritime operations».

«This DOE and NOAA prize provides a unique opportunity to combine Seatrec’s technology to harvest energy from temperature differences in the ocean with Northrop Grumman’s innovation of NiobiCon connectors and data bubbles», said Doctor Yi Chao, founder and CEO, Seatrec. «We believe this strategic partnership will provide a transformative solution for persistent and sustainable ocean observing systems».

The Mission Unlimited UUV Station design will increase the endurance and range of any existing UUV and dramatically reduce the data latency between collection and analysis. The proposed solution will also increase the types of data that can be collected by providing the increased power needed to improve spatial coverage, temporal resolution, and types of variables from new, higher power sensors.

Northrop Grumman’s NiobiCon wet-mateable connectors enable underwater power transfer and data exchange without using seals, oil or moving parts

C-UAS Weapon

Northrop Grumman Corporation has formed a strategic supplier agreement with Epirus, Inc. to offer the company’s Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) capability as a component of Northrop Grumman’s Counter-Unmanned Aerial System (C-UAS) systems-of-systems solution offering. The agreement augments Northrop Grumman’s advanced end-to-end C-UAS capabilities by including Epirus’ EMP systems to defeat UAS swarms, and specifically supplements the company’s suite of non-kinetic C-UAS effects.

Northrop Grumman Taps Epirus for Electromagnetic Pulse C-UAS Weapon System

«UAS threats are proliferating across the modern battlespace», said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. «By integrating the Epirus EMP weapon system into our C-UAS portfolio, we continue maturing our robust, integrated, layered approach to addressing and defeating these evolving threats».

Northrop Grumman’s end-to-end C-UAS solutions deliver a layered architecture with a full complement of kinetic and non-kinetic effects, aerial and ground sensors and the battle-hardened, proven and deployed Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control (C2) system, recently selected by the U.S. Army as the interim C2 system for counter-small-UAS capabilities.

Epirus’ C-UAS EMP system – called Leonidas – is designed for static and mobile C-UAS defense and utilizes solid-state commercial semiconductor technology to deliver capability with unprecedented reduction in size and weight. This enables increased stand-off ranges and speed-of-light engagements that do not suffer from issues with magazine depth and capacity. When fired, a Leonidas creates an EMP that can be steered for precision engagements, or adjusted to sanitize a volume of terrain or sky, creating a force field effect.

«We’re excited to work closely with the Northrop Grumman team to support their C-UAS systems-of-systems solution offering», said Bo Marr, chief technology officer at Epirus. «Our unprecedented EMP capabilities will complement this offering as we continue to look to the future to understand how asymmetric threats will evolve».

Epirus Inc. is a third-year startup that develops EMP weapons for the U.S. military. Their team combines veteran experience from aerospace and the Special Operations community. Their offices are located in Los Angeles, California.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Minotaur IV Rocket

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully launched its Minotaur IV space launch vehicle and placed a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) spacecraft into orbit at 9:46 a.m. EDT on July 15. The Minotaur IV was launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0B at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

Northrop Grumman’s Minotaur IV Rocket successfully launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility this morning

«This mission marks the 27th consecutive successful launch for the company’s Minotaur product line which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year», said Kurt Eberly, director, launch vehicles, Northrop Grumman. «Minotaur’s record of success along with its ability to responsively launch from multiple spaceports continues to be a valuable asset for our customers».

The NROL-129 launch (L-129) was the seventh Minotaur IV flight. The Minotaur IV is capable of launching payloads of up to 4,000 pounds (or 1,800 kilograms) to low earth orbit. This mission’s Minotaur IV configuration included three decommissioned Peacekeeper stages and a Northrop Grumman manufactured Orion 38 solid fuel upper stage. The Minotaur rockets are manufactured at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Chandler, Arizona; Vandenberg, California; and Clearfield and Magna, Utah.

The Minotaur family of launch vehicles is based on government-furnished Peacekeeper and Minuteman rocket motors that Northrop Grumman has integrated with modern avionics and other subsystems to produce a cost-effective, responsive launcher based on flight-proven hardware. Minotaur rockets have launched from ranges in Alaska, California, Florida and Virginia.

The vehicle used to launch the L-129 mission was procured under the OSP-3 contract administered by the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise Small Launch and Targets Division at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. Minotaur vehicles are currently available to customers under the OSP-4 contract.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Northrop Grumman successfully launched its Minotaur IV Rocket into orbit this morning, at 9:46 a.m. ET

Maneuver Ammunition

Northrop Grumman Corporation received a contract award from the U.S. Army’s Project Manager for Maneuver Ammunition Systems (PM-MAS) to develop the next generation airburst cartridge for the 30-mm XM813 Bushmaster Chain Gun. The gun and ammunition function as a system and will provide greater capability for the Army’s up-gunned Stryker Brigade Combat Team fleets.

A series of 30-mm airburst cartridges fired from the 30-mm Bushmaster Chain Gun during a recent test showcases the system’s ability to defeat targets in defilade positions (Northrop Grumman)

«Northrop Grumman is leading the way in developing new ammunition types that provide existing gun systems with increased capabilities to defeat difficult targets ranging from threat drones to targets in defilade positions», said Dan Olson, vice president, armament systems, Northrop Grumman. «Our air bursting technology is proven and the addition of this new round will provide the Army with an even more capable gun system for our soldiers».

The 30-mm × 173-mm airburst cartridge will feature a contact set fuze design with three operational fuze modes: Programmable Airburst, Point Detonation and Point Detonation with Delay. The initial contract will fund the completion of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase and final qualification by the Army.

Northrop Grumman will also begin deliveries this year of the first airburst type cartridge to support the U.S. Army’s Germany-based, 2nd Cavalry Regiment’s Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) fleet that were recently ‘up-gunned’ with the company’s 30-mm Bushmaster Chain Gun. The new airburst cartridge in development also will support additional U.S. Army platforms to include, but not limited to, the future Stryker Brigade Combat Teams.

The newly fielded gun system nearly doubles the range of the platform’s current 12.7-mm/.50-caliber machine gun. The addition of an airburst cartridge provides a complete family of ammunition that arms the crew to meet the challenges posed by peer and near-peer adversarial threat systems.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Counter-sUAS System

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control (FAAD C2) system has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) as the interim command and control system for future Counter-Small Unmanned Aerial System (C-sUAS) procurements.

Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control is Department of Defense system of choice for Counter-Small Unmanned Aerial System

The decision follows the findings of a service board established by the DOD’s Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-sUAS) Office to evaluate and provide an order-of-merit list for «best-of-breed» systems to counter small drones. The down-select board was comprised of representatives from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Special Operations Command, and senior representatives from the acquisition, technical, operational and other communities. FAAD C2 will serve as the current joint common C-sUAS C2 platform while an enduring solution is developed.

«Our FAAD C2 has been saving lives at Forward Operating Bases and locations around the world since 2005», said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. «FAAD C2 continuously evolves to defend against new threats like small unmanned aerial systems and will continue to be the gold standard for protection of our troops whether stationed at bases or on the move».

FAAD C2 is a battle-proven C2 system, deployed in several theaters of operation for the C-UAS and C-RAM (Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar) missions for its proven performance and flexibility that enables easy integration with available sensors, effectors and warning systems to launch rapid, real-time defense against short range and maneuvering threats. It also has been selected as the C2 system for the Army’s Initial Maneuver Short Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD) platforms. FAAD-C2 is built on the open architecture common to the Northrop Grumman all-domain C4I solution ecosystem and will ultimately converge into the US Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS).

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.