Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

Sense on-the-move

March 11, 2020 – Northrop Grumman Corporation completed a successful government customer demonstration of the Highly Adaptable Multi-Mission Radar (HAMMR) system at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Northrop Grumman successfully demonstrates on-the-move ground radar capability

During the successful live fire demonstration, Northrop Grumman used the HAMMR system, mounted on a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) as an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) sensor to detect and track an unmanned aerial vehicle target.

«This first-of-its-kind demonstration validated the sense on-the-move capability in concept for the Department of Defense’s IAMD enterprise and proved that this capability can be developed and fielded to warfighters much sooner than anticipated», said Mike Meaney, vice president, land and maritime sensors, Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman’s HAMMR is a short-to medium-range X-Band Three Dimensional (3D) radar that utilizes the proven Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) AN/APG-83 F-16 fighter radar in a ground-based, sense on-the-move role. HAMMR provides robust multi-mission 3D performance for air surveillance, weapon cueing and counter-fire target acquisition missions in either a 360-degree or sector-only staring mode. HAMMR delivers the unprecedented ability to provide force protection while operating on the move, significantly increasing warfighter survivability.

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.

Synthetic Aperture Sonar

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s µSAS (pronounced «micro-sas») will be integrated onto L3Harris Technologies’ Iver4 Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) for a 12-month test period for the Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU) Next Generation Small-Class UUV program.

The Northrop Grumman µSAS (pronounced «micro-sas») mounted on a L3Harris UUV

The µSAS is a Low-SWaP (Size, Weight and Power), high-performance interferometric synthetic aperture sonar that enables longer sorties and higher area coverage rates for UUV missions. Integrated onto a 9-inch/22.86-centimeter diameter, 99-inch/250.46-centimeter long, 200-pound/90.7-kilogram UUV, the installation will occur at L3Harris’ Fall River, Massachusetts facility and the system will be tested in San Diego, California by the U.S. Navy. The integration of synthetic aperture sonar on a small diameter UUV is a significant step forward in small class vehicle capability.

«The Northrop Grumman µSAS advanced imaging sonar is a minehunting force multiplier designed specifically for UUVs», said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman. «This integration will help to deliver a significant increase in the platform’s ability to detect objects on the seafloor and in the water column».

«The Iver4, integrated with µSAS, is a major advancement in small-class UUV capability for the warfighter», said Daryl Slocum, president and general manager, unmanned maritime systems, L3Harris.

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 Northrop Grumman µSAS (pronounced «micro-sas»)

First Deployment

The U.S. Navy’s first MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) have arrived in Guam for their initial deployment in the Pacific theater.

An MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) sits in a hangar at Andersen Air Force Base after arriving for a deployment as part of an Early Operational Capability (EOC) test to further develop the concept of operations and fleet learning associated with operating a high-altitude, long-endurance system in the maritime domain. Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP) 19, the first Triton UAS squadron, will operate and maintain two aircraft in Guam under Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72, the U.S. Navy’s lead for patrol, reconnaissance and surveillance forces in U.S. 7th Fleet (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Brooks/Released)

Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP) 19, the first Triton UAS squadron, will operate and maintain two aircraft as part of an Early Operational Capability (EOC) to further develop the concept of operations and fleet learning associated with operating a high-altitude, long-endurance system in the maritime domain.

The Tritons forward-deployed to Guam, both of which have arrived at Andersen Air Force base as of January 26, will fall under Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72, lead for patrol, reconnaissance and surveillance forces in 7th Fleet.

«The introduction of MQ-4C Triton to the Seventh Fleet area of operations expands the reach of the U.S. Navy’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance force in the Western Pacific», said Captain Matt Rutherford, commander of CTF-72. «Coupling the capabilities of the MQ-4C Triton with the proven performance of P-8A Poseidon, P-3 Orion and EP-3 Aries will enable improved maritime domain awareness in support of regional and national security objectives».

The U.S. Navy’s Persistent Maritime UAS program office at Patuxent River, managed by Captain Dan Mackin, and industry partner Northrop Grumman, worked closely with VUP-19 in preparation for EOC. Prior to flying the aircraft to Guam, the team completed extensive operational test and unit level training.

«This significant milestone marks the culmination of years of hard work by the joint team to prepare Triton for overseas operations», said Mackin. «The fielding of the U.S. Navy’s premier unmanned aircraft system and its additive, persistent, multi-sensor data collection and real-time dissemination capability will revolutionize the way maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance is performed».

The MQ-4C Triton will conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions that will complement the P-8A Poseidon and will bring increased persistence, capability, and capacity through its multi-sensor mission payload.

«The inaugural deployment of Triton UAS brings enhanced capabilities and a broad increase in Maritime Domain Awareness to our forward Fleet commanders», said Rear Admiral Peter Garvin, commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group. «VUP-19, the U.S. Navy’s first dedicated UAS squadron supported by an outstanding NAVAIR and industry team, is superbly trained and ready to provide the persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) coverage the Navy needs».

Initial Operational Capability (IOC) will include four air vehicles with capacity to support 24/7 operations.

 

Specifications

Wingspan 130.9 feet/39.9 m
Length 47.6 feet/14.5 m
Height 15.4 feet/4.6 m
Gross Take-Off Weight (GTOW) 32,250 lbs/14,628 kg
Maximum Internal Payload 3,200 lbs/1,452 kg
Maximum External Payload 2,400 lbs/1,089 kg
Self-Deploy 8,200 NM/9,436 miles/15,186 km
Maximum Altitude 56,500 feet/17,220 m
Maximum Velocity, TAS (True Air Speed) 331 knots/381 mph/613 km/h
Maximum Endurance 24 hours

 

SPOC radio

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a contract to develop and demonstrate a Software Programmable Open Mission Systems (OMS) Compliant (SPOC) radio terminal for the U.S. Air Force.

Northrop Grumman will deliver an open mission systems-compliant software programmable radio terminal to the U.S. Air Force, unlocking new possibilities for the service’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS)

Northrop Grumman’s SPOC solution will provide the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) with an air-to-ground and air-to-air communications capability across four radio frequency waveforms: Link-16 Concurrent Multi-Net-4 (CMN-4), Common Data Link (CDL), Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) and Multi User Objective System (MUOS).

This development defines the Air Force’s next generation radio approach.

«Our solution for SPOC provides a mature hardware and software development kit that allows the Air Force to rapidly develop and prototype innovative communications solutions from any provider on an open architecture networking terminal that can be quickly taken into flight test and production», said Roshan Roeder, vice president, communications, airborne sensors and networks division, Northrop Grumman. «With the Air Force taking responsibility for developing the airborne communications network infrastructure for the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), SPOC radio will allow the Air Force to rapidly develop, test, fly and iterate».

Northrop Grumman’s SPOC open architecture networking terminal offers numerous benefits to the Air Force customer, including opening the F-35 Communications, Navigation and Identification (CNI) system to third-party developers, ownership of Link-16 development, sharing of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information over a common data link, and Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) beyond line of sight capability.

In-Water Testing

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s AQS-24 mine hunting sonar recently completed initial in-water testing of a next-generation Deploy and Retrieval (D&R) payload. Operated from the Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vessel (MCM USV), the AQS-24 D&R demonstrated the unmanned operations needed to perform a mine hunting mission off the MCM Mission Package aboard the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

The AQS-24B minehunter being deployed from the Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Surface Vessel (MCM USV)

«Achieving this important milestone demonstrated reliable unmanned mine hunting operations, while using operationally representative hardware from the LCS MCM Mission Module», said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman. «This allows the program to begin preparation for further at-sea testing of the system for extended duration missions in rigorous conditions».

The MCM USV tests are ahead of planned user-operated evaluation system testing of the AQS-24 on LCSs. The company has multiple versions of the AQS-24 to provide mine hunting capabilities for navies. The AQS-24B is a deployed system which uses side-scan sonar for real-time detection, localization and classification of bottom and moored mines in addition to a laser line scanner for precise optical identification.

Integration of the AQS-24 sonar with USVs allows for the real-time transmission of all AQS-24 data to a remote sonar operator, who can then commence Real-Time Mission Analysis (RTMA) of all recorded mission data. RTMA significantly reduces MCM detect to engage timelines, as well as the real-time reacquisition and identification of bottom mines following traditional mine hunting sorties.

Alliance Surveillance

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully ferried the first of five NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) aircraft, via a non-stop, 22-hour transatlantic flight. The aircraft took off on Wednesday, November 20, from Palmdale, California and landed approximately 22 hours later on November 21 at Sigonella Air Base, Sigonella, Italy.

NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Aircraft Completes Successful Ferry Flight

«Northrop Grumman is proud to support NATO in its mission to protect and defend global security, while maintaining a position of collective deterrence for the Alliance», said Brian Chappel, vice president and general manager, autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman. «NATO missions will be enhanced by the strategic surveillance capability NATO AGS provides».

The NATO AGS RQ-4D aircraft is based on the U.S. Air Force wide area surveillance Global Hawk. It has been uniquely adapted to NATO requirements and will provide NATO state-of-the-art intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability. This includes protecting ground troops, civilian populations and international borders in peacetime, times of conflict and for humanitarian missions during natural disasters.

Aircraft, ground and support segments, along with advanced sensor technologies including the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program radar, comprise the NATO AGS system.

The NATO AGS aircraft has met the rigorous standards required for the first large unmanned aerial vehicle, military type certification, approved by the Italian Directorate of Aeronautical Armaments and Airworthiness (DAAA).

Companies from across NATO’s member nations, including Leonardo, Airbus and Kongsberg, comprise the Northrop Grumman-led industry team that developed the NATO AGS capability.

Fire control radar

Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered its 500th AN/APG-81 fire control radar for the F-35 Lightning II. The Northrop Grumman AN/APG-81 active electronically scanned array is the cornerstone of the F-35’s advanced sensor suite, providing unparalleled battlespace situational awareness that translates into platform lethality, effectiveness and survivability.

Northrop Grumman delivered its 500th AN/APG-81 radar for the F-35 Lightning II (Photo Credit: Northrop Grumman Corporation)

«As a principal member of the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 industry team, our continued investment in facilities and equipment, production enhancements in process and design, and expanded supply chain capability through second sourcing helped reach this milestone», said Chris Fitzpatrick, director, F-35 programs, Northrop Grumman. «The 500th delivery of this top-of-the-line fighter radar was made possible by our continuous focus on quality and excellence across our company».

The AN/APG-81 radar has long-range active and passive air-to-air and air-to-ground modes that support a wide range of demanding missions. These modes are complemented by an array of stealth features as well as electronic warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance functions.

Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernization, sustainment and production of the F-35. In addition to producing the AN/APG-81 radar, 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.

Minehunting sonar

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully operated the AQS-24 minehunting sonar at depths greater than 400 feet/122 m during system testing off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Northrop Grumman successfully tests AQS-24 Deep Tow

Embarked on the M/V Richard Becker, the Northrop Grumman test team demonstrated reliable AQS-24 system operations with excellent sonar performance at all tested depths, while using the system to classify bottom objects of interest.

«The AQS-24 minehunting system performed superbly at tow depths up to and beyond 400 feet/122 m», said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman. «This latest internal research and development effort underscores our commitment to provide the most innovative, affordable and operationally-proven capabilities to meet the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mine Countermeasures Mission (MCM) package requirements and future expeditionary MCM needs».

Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman demonstrated an autonomy upgrade path for the AQS-24’s minehunting system by integrating and successfully testing the company’s image exploitation suite, incorporating state-of-the-art machine learning for Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) using multiple ATR algorithms. Following this successful demonstration, the U.S. Navy plans to incorporate this new capability into existing AQS-24 minehunting systems.

The success of Deep Tow is now followed by the recently commenced in-water testing of Northrop Grumman’s AQS-24 system on the Navy’s MCM Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City. This is in preparation for user operated evaluation system testing aboard the LCS in 2020. The AQS-24’s newly doubled depth capability is planned for integration and test with the MCM USV system.

These major enhancements to the U.S. Navy’s only operational mine hunting towed sonar – running deeper, automatically detecting and reporting targets, and providing the transition to the LCS MCM USV – increases the operational effectiveness of the AQS-24 system while providing the warfighter with an unprecedented capability that affordably meets operational needs and provides a proven path for continued integration of state-of-the-art technology.

Doubles the current AQS-24 program of record depth performance metric

James Webb

At Northrop Grumman Corporation in Redondo Beach, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Spacecraft Element (SCE) and Optical Telescope Element/Integrated Science Instrument Module (OTIS) are now one. Both halves of the telescope (SCE and OTIS) have been successfully assembled.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope fully assembled at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California (Photo credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

The Northrop Grumman and NASA team started preparations for the milestone seven years ago, when engineers began the design and build of the flight hardware and tools needed to join the two halves. With the base composite structures for the SCE and OTIS, engineers used an interface transfer tool to physically match the connection interfaces, preparing them for this very moment. At roughly 8,000 pounds/3,629 kg, spanning 131 inches/3.327 m, OTIS had to align with six launch load interfaces. This resulted in stringent alignment requirements to within .004 inches/0.1 mm, about the width of a human hair, and meant engineers had to be meticulous. Over the two-phase operation, OTIS was lifted and suspended in the air, then lowered to connect in tight quarters (up to approximately 0.2 inches/0.5 mm) between in-place hardware and parts of the OTIS.

«This milestone marks a major achievement for all of us at Northrop Grumman and NASA», said Scott Willoughby, vice president and program manager, James Webb Space Telescope, Northrop Grumman. «Seeing the full observatory for the first time further reinforces our commitment to mission success. There is still more work to be done, but it is a great feeling seeing something that was once a concept, become reality».

A view of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope OTIS, being lowered on the SCE to become a fully assembled observatory at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California (Photo credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

Earlier this year, Webb’s SCE completed its final environmental tests in preparation for the milestone. To date, both halves have undergone environmental testing separately. The fully assembled observatory will complete the next steps of the integration process in the coming months in preparation for acoustic and vibration environmental testing next year.

The James Webb Space Telescope will be the world’s premier space science observatory when it launches in 2021. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Optical Telescope Element/Integrated Science Instrument Module (OTIS) suspended from a crane before being positioned above the Spacecraft Element before being fully assembled at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California (Photo credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

Above Mach 4

An Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Air Force Test Center ground test team set a record for the highest thrust produced by an air-breathing hypersonic engine in Air Force history.

The AEDC Aerodynamic and Propulsion Test Unit at Arnold Air Force Base supports recent testing for the Air Force Research Laboratory Medium Scale Critical Components Scramjet program. The Northrop Grumman-produced engine was successfully operated at conditions above Mach 4 and has set the record for highest thrust produced by an air-breathing hypersonic engine in Air Force history (U.S. Air Force photo)

«AFRL, in conjunction with Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) and Northrop Grumman, achieved over 13,000 pounds/5,897 kg of thrust from a scramjet engine during testing at Arnold Air Force Base», said Todd Barhorst, AFRL aerospace engineer and lead for the Medium Scale Critical Components program.

The 18-foot-long/5.5-meter-long Northrop Grumman engine endured a half hour of accumulated combustion time during the nine months of testing.

«The series of tests, ran in conjunction with AEDC and AFRL, on this fighter-engine sized scramjet was truly remarkable», said Pat Nolan, vice president, missile products, Northrop Grumman. «The scramjet successfully ran across a range of hypersonic Mach numbers for unprecedented run times, demonstrating that our technology is leading the way in delivering large scale hypersonic platforms to our warfighters».

«The plan for a larger and faster hypersonic air breathing engine was established 10 years ago during the X-51 test program, as the Air Force recognized the need to push the boundaries of hypersonic research», Barhorst said. «A new engine with 10-times the flow of the X-51 would allow for a new class of scramjet vehicles».

An evaluation of the nation’s test facilities concluded that none could test an engine at this large of a scale in a thermally-relevant environment. To address the issue, AEDC’s Aerodynamic and Propulsion Test Unit facility underwent a two-year upgrade to enable large-scale scramjet combustor tests over the required range of test conditions. The AEDC team also successfully leveraged technology developed by CFD Research Corporation under the Small Business Innovative Research program. This technology proved crucial in achieving most of the required test conditions.

«Our collective team has worked hard over the past few years to get to where we are today», said Sean Smith, lead for the AEDC Hypersonic Systems Combined Test Force ground test team. «We’ve encountered numerous challenges along the way that we’ve been able to overcome thanks to the dedication and creativity of the team. We’ve learned quite a bit, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. These groundbreaking tests will lead the way for future hypersonic vehicles for a range of missions».

«After years of hard work, performing analysis and getting hardware ready, it was a great sense of fulfillment completing the first successful test of the world’s largest hydrocarbon fueled scramjet», added Barhorst.