Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

Hypersonic Missile

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, in partnership with Northrop Grumman, has been selected to develop the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM) for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). HACM is a first-of-its-kind weapon developed in conjunction with the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE), a U.S. and Australia project arrangement.

Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM)
U.S. Air Force selects Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Northrop Grumman to deliver first hypersonic air-breathing missile

Under this contract, the Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Northrop Grumman team will deliver operationally ready missiles to the USAF.

«Raytheon Missiles & Defense continues to be at the forefront of hypersonic weapon and air-breathing technology development», said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «With advanced threats emerging around the globe, the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile will provide our warfighters a much-needed capability».

The Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile is an air-breathing, scramjet powered munition. Scramjet engines use high vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion, which enables sustained flight at hypersonic speeds – Mach 5 or greater. By traveling at these speeds, hypersonic weapons, like HACM, are able to reach their targets more quickly than similar traditional missiles, allowing them to potentially evade defensive systems.

«The Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile creates a new class of strategically important weapons for the U.S. military», said Mary Petryszyn, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Defense Systems. «Our scramjet propulsion technology is ushering in a new era for faster, more survivable and highly capable weapons».

Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman have been working together since 2019 to develop, produce and integrate Northrop Grumman’s scramjet engines onto Raytheon’s air-breathing hypersonic weapons. Their combined efforts enable both companies to produce air-breathing hypersonic weapons, the next generation of tactical missile systems.

First Australian Triton

Northrop Grumman Corporation on September 14, 2022 unveiled Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton autonomous aircraft during a ceremony at its High-Altitude, Long-Endurance (HALE) aircraft production site in California. The event, attended by Australian, U.S. government and defense officials, highlights the continued progress of the MQ-4C Triton program for both the Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Navy.

MQ-4C Triton
Australia’s first MQ-4C Triton on the runway in Palmdale, California (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

«Today marks a significant milestone for Australia and the MQ-4C Triton program», said Tom Jones, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems. «As we get ready for final system integration and flight test, we are one step closer to delivering this extraordinary maritime awareness capability to Australia».

Australia is a cooperative program partner in the Triton program and was critical in helping shape the requirements for the system. As partners, U.S. and Australian defense forces will be able to share data collected by their respective Tritons, a critical ability in one of the world’s most strategically important regions.

«Triton will provide the Royal Australian Air Force with an unprecedented capability to monitor and protect our maritime approaches», said Air Marshal Robert Chipman, Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force. «Triton will work alongside the P-8A Poseidon and this unmanned aircraft system will allow us to cover significant areas, at longer ranges and has the ability to stay airborne longer than a traditional aircraft».

Northrop Grumman initiated the build of the first Australian Triton in October 2020 at its production facility in Moss Point, Mississippi, and met another major production milestone in December 2021 when the fuselage and one-piece wing were mated in Palmdale, California. The aircraft is scheduled for production completion in 2023 and delivery to Australia in 2024.

Northrop Grumman’s family of autonomous HALE systems perform critical wide-area Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (ISR&T) missions. Today, autonomous HALE systems operate across the globe, with greater than 24-hour endurance, collecting essential ISR&T data over land and sea to enable rapid, informed decision-making. In the future, these systems will connect the joint force, implementing advanced autonomy and artificial intelligence and machine learning while delivering indispensable capabilities with fewer people to provide information at the speed of relevance.

LITENING Pod

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s LITENING advanced targeting pod has successfully completed its first test flights on the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet. The U.S. Navy selected LITENING to replace the legacy targeting pods on the F/A-18 Super Hornet fleet in early 2022.

LITENING
Pod demonstrated surveillance, autonomous target tracking capabilities

«This first flight demonstrated LITENING’s ability to rapidly add modern, upgradeable mission capabilities to the F/A-18 Super Hornet», said James Conroy, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman. «The pod’s digital video, autonomous target tracking, and laser sensors will give Naval aviators an entirely new set of capabilities for operations over land and sea today, and the growth capabilities built into LITENING’s modular design ensure that the pod can evolve to meet changing requirements».

During the flight, pilots executed maneuvers and operations representative of combat missions, including ground moving target tracking, air-to-air tracking and target designation. The pilots also engaged the eye-safe training laser mode that allows the pod to be used for realistic training with combat controllers on the ground. The pilots were able to carry out these operations without advance training, showing the ease of use that has been made possible by close collaboration with the aviation community.

LITENING is currently in service with the Marine Corps, Air Force, Air National Guard and international customers. Northrop Grumman has delivered more than 900 LITENING pods.

New capability

Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force are continuing enhancements to the B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber fleet providing new capability, including its first long-range stealth missile.

B-2 Spirit
Northrop Grumman aircrew inspect the B-2 Spirit of Arizona before take-off in Palmdale, California

The B-2 Spirit successfully released a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) during a flight test in December. The JASSM-ER further enhances the B-2’s ability to hit any target, anywhere. The integration of JASSM-ER enables the delivery of a low observable asset capable of traveling greater distances than its predecessor.

JASSM-ER is one of three new advanced capabilities being introduced to the B-2 Spirit to further modernize the platform. The B-2 Spirit fleet, capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear ordnance, is also integrating crypto modernization and a Radar Aided Targeting System (RATS). The latest system advancements are part of Integrated Functional Capability (IFC) P6.4, which was certified last year by the Air Force. RATS will complete the latest phase of nuclear modernization of the B-2 Spirit.

«The unrivaled capabilities of the B-2 Spirit make it the only long range, penetrating stealth bomber currently in the U.S. arsenal», said Shaugnessy Reynolds, vice president and B-2 Spirit program manager, Northrop Grumman. «Committed to continued modernization of the B-2 Spirit, we’re leveraging our company’s innovation in digital engineering and its decades of leadership in designing and maintaining low observable platforms to keep the B-2 Spirit mission ready».

The integration of RATS allows the B-2 Spirit to fully employ the B-61 mod 12 nuclear bomb. RATS is the key element of the nuclear modernization, as GPS may not be available during a bomber task force mission.

Crypto modernization further improves the communications security of various high frequency transmissions. The B-2 Spirit may now securely utilize advanced communication devices in the future threat environment. Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman conducted a successful communications flight test with modern cryptology at its Oklahoma City Weapons System Support Center site.

The capabilities of this IFC continue to position the B-2 Spirit fleet as a key component of the Department of Defense’s nuclear triad. It is also part of Northrop Grumman’s ongoing modernization efforts leveraging 21st century technology incorporating digital engineering.

G/ATOR

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) multifunction sensor successfully detected and tracked multiple cruise missile threats simultaneously during a recent live-fire test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. G/ATOR successfully tracked each target immediately after launch and passed relevant information in real time to intercept numerous cruise missile targets from multiple angles.

AN/TPS-80
G/ATOR supporting a series of live-fire tests in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico

The tests were part of the U.S. Marine Corps’ mid-tier acquisition rapid prototyping effort, known as the Ground Based Air Defense Medium-Range Intercept Capability (GBAD MRIC), a developmental program established to protect high-value areas and assets from airborne threats such as cruise missiles and aircraft.

«During this test event, the AN/TPS-80 demonstrated a combination of performance capabilities during a realistic representation of an adversary attack», said Michael Hahn, director, advanced land radar solutions, Northrop Grumman. «G/ATOR is an expeditionary radar and is unrivaled in its ability to simultaneously provide weapons quality tracks on numerous, concurrent airborne targets while maintaining 360-degree surveillance coverage. The software-defined nature of the AN/TPS-80 was critical in rapidly developing and demonstrating this advanced capability in support of challenging threat scenarios to support the Marine Corps».

The rapid emplacement and displacement of the AN/TPS-80 means troops can quickly stand up this mission capability in the field, perform the mission, and rapidly move assets to avoid vulnerability of enemy targeting. Unlike traditional sensors, multifunction systems like G/ATOR consolidate multiple capabilities into a single sensor, decreasing the size, weight and power requirements. G/ATOR is one piece of the solution providing the joint forces with an operational picture and deep breadth of data to operate in today’s contested environment, in support of the Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 strategy.

The GBAD MRIC program, led by the USMC, integrates existing systems – specifically, G/ATOR and the Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S) – with components of the Israeli Iron Dome System including the Tamir interceptor to provide integrated surveillance and coverage.

Landsat 9

NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) officially marked the handover and commencement of operations of the Landsat 9 Earth observation satellite. Landsat 9 was designed, built and tested by Northrop Grumman Corporation at its Gilbert, Arizona satellite facility and was launched into orbit aboard an Atlas V rocket in September 2021. The satellite completed its systems verification and commissioning in late July 2022.

Landsat 9
The Landsat 9 (background) and the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) satellites in Northrop Grumman’s Gilbert, Arizona satellite manufacturing facility

«Northrop Grumman-built satellites like Landsat 9 are vital to tracking the state of our planet», said Mike Witt, chief sustainability officer, Northrop Grumman. «The data they collect is vital to analyzing, predicting and addressing changes to ecosystems, helping us to better understand the role sustainability plays in securing a safer world».

Landsat 9 will collect space-based images and data that will aid researchers in areas including agriculture, geology, land use mapping, forestry, global change research and water resource management. The Landsat images further support international emergency and disaster relief to save lives of those in areas most affected by natural disasters. Landsat 9 is based on Northrop Grumman’s flight proven LEOStar-3 platform and extensively leverages the design of the Landsat 8 spacecraft, which has been in service since 2013.

«Landsat 9 continues the uninterrupted monitoring of our Earth by building on the 50-year legacy of the NASA and USGS Landsat system», said Steve Krein, vice president, commercial and civil satellites, Northrop Grumman. «This is the fourth Landsat satellite built by Northrop Grumman that plays a critical role of global observation for monitoring, understanding and managing Earth’s natural resources».

American-built first-stage

Northrop Grumman Corporation and Firefly Aerospace have joined forces to provide an American-built first-stage upgrade for the Antares rocket and a new medium launch vehicle to serve commercial, civil and national security space launch markets.

Antares
Northrop Grumman Teams with Firefly Aerospace to Develop Antares Rocket Upgrade and New Medium Launch Vehicle

«Through our collaboration, we will first develop a fully domestic version of our Antares rocket, the Antares 330, for Cygnus space station commercial resupply services, followed by an entirely new medium class launch vehicle», said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager, launch and missile defense systems, Northrop Grumman. «Northrop Grumman and Firefly have been working on a combined strategy and technical development plan to meet current and future launch requirements».

Firefly’s propulsion technology utilizes the same propellants as the current Antares rocket, which minimizes launch site upgrades. The Antares 330 will utilize seven of Firefly’s Miranda engines and leverage its composites technology for the first stage structures and tanks, while Northrop Grumman provides its proven avionics and software, upper-stage structures and Castor 30XL motor, as well as proven vehicle integration and launch pad operations. This new stage will also significantly increase Antares mass to orbit capability.

«Firefly prides itself on being a disrupter in the new space industry and collaborating with a proven space pioneer like Northrop Grumman will help us continue that disruption», said Peter Schumacher, interim CEO, Firefly.

The Antares 330 performance upgrade will enable Northrop Grumman to continue to support the company’s current contracts while planning for future mission capabilities.

Firefly Aerospace is an emerging end-to-end space transportation company focused on developing a family of launch vehicles, in-space vehicles, and services to provide industry-leading affordability, convenience, and reliability to its government and commercial customers. Firefly’s launch vehicles, combined with their in-space vehicles, such as the Space Utility Vehicle (SUV) and Blue Ghost Lunar Lander, provide the space industry with a single source for missions from LEO to the surface of the Moon and beyond.

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.

BOLE booster

Northrop Grumman Corporation and NASA successfully conducted a full-scale static fire of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket motor, known as Flight Support Booster-2. The five-segment solid rocket booster is the world’s largest solid rocket motor and will provide more than 75 percent of the SLS rocket’s initial thrust during launch.

Space Launch System (SLS)
The five-segment solid rocket booster for NASA’s SLS rocket tested for early learning in support of next-generation systems at Northrop Grumman’s Promontory, Utah, test area

Over 300 measurement channels assessed the 154-foot-long/50-meter-long solid rocket booster as it fired for just over two minutes producing upwards of 3.6 million pounds of thrust. Today’s test evaluates new materials and demonstrates a new motor ignition system and an electronic thrust vector control system that steers the motors to provide data for the development of the next-generation Booster Obsolescence and Life Extension (BOLE) boosters.

Northrop Grumman was awarded a contract to develop the BOLE booster in December 2021. The award also included follow-on production and flight sets for Artemis IV through Artemis VIII, and a BOLE booster set for Artemis IX.

«Continuous product improvements and obsolescence mitigation helps NASA achieve its long-term mission to utilize SLS for its Artemis program», said Wendy Williams, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman. «This opportunity for early learning on next-generation systems will help us develop an enhanced booster that is ready to support the greater payload demands of the SLS rocket through 2031».

Booster segments for Artemis II, the first crewed Artemis mission, and Artemis III, the mission that will land the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface, are complete. Artemis IV segments are currently being cast with propellant and the first BOLE booster composite segment case to be used for development testing completed winding in October.

Northrop Grumman has 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. Designed with an additional segment and upgraded technology and materials, each of the twin solid rocket boosters generates 25 percent more thrust than its predecessor boosters to aid the SLS rocket’s ability to deliver greater mass and volume to space with greater departure energy than any existing launch vehicle.

Along with the twin solid rocket boosters, Northrop Grumman also produces the abort motor and attitude control motor for NASA’s Orion spacecraft’s Launch Abort System that increases astronaut safety on pad and during ascent. The company further supports the Artemis program providing the Habitation and Logistics Outpost module for NASA’s lunar Gateway and internally developing a Lunar Terrain Vehicle that supports human and robotic exploration of the moon and beyond.

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.

Supersonic Aircraft

A new supersonic aircraft tailored to provide quick-reaction capabilities to the U.S. military and allies will be offered through a collaborative agreement between Northrop Grumman Corporation and Boom Supersonic.

Overture
Rendering of the special-mission variant of the Overture supersonic special-mission aircraft for the U.S. military and allies

The agreement to together propose special mission variants of Boom’s Overture supersonic aircraft was finalized at the Farnborough International Air Show.

«Pairing Northrop Grumman’s airborne defense systems integration expertise with Boom’s advanced Overture supersonic aircraft demonstrates the power of collaborations like this for the benefit of our customers», said Tom Jones, president, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems. «Together we can ensure our military customers have variants of Overture for missions where advanced system capabilities and speed are critical».

Designed to carry up to 80 passengers at twice the speed of today’s airliners, a special mission variant of Overture has the potential to support government and military missions that require rapid response.

Fitted with specialized capabilities, the aircraft could be used to deliver medical supplies, provide for emergency medical evacuation or surveil vast areas faster than conventional aircraft. The special mission Overture variant could also be used to coordinate other aircraft and ground assets in a variety of scenarios.

«Time is a strategic advantage in high-consequence scenarios, from military operations to disaster response», said Blake Scholl, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Boom Supersonic. «This collaboration between Boom and Northrop Grumman unlocks Overture’s unmatched high-speed mission capability for the United States and its allies».

Designed and built in the United States, the first Overture aircraft will be in production for commercial use in 2024, start flight tests in 2026 and begin carrying passengers in 2029.

Tranche 1 Transport Layer

Northrop Grumman Corporation on July 05, 2022 announced the selection of Airbus U.S. Space & Defense Inc. as the commercial provider of satellite platforms for its proliferated-LEO constellation. Under the terms of the contract, Airbus U.S. will supply 42 satellite «bus» platforms, as well as support vehicle assembly, integration and testing.

Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL)
Northrop Grumman’s T1TL mesh satellite constellation will provide resilient, low-latency, high-volume data transport supporting U.S. military missions around the world and serve as a critical element for Joint-All Domain Command Control

The Space Development Agency (SDA) selected Northrop Grumman in February to develop and field a portion of its Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL) constellation. The T1TL network will deliver persistent, secure connectivity for the U.S. military and serve as a critical element for Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

«The addition of Airbus U.S. as one of our key commercial suppliers complements our end-to-end satellite system integration and heritage communication mission expertise», said Blake Bullock, vice president, communication systems, strategic space systems, Northrop Grumman.

In May, Northrop Grumman announced the selection of Mynaric and Innoflight as its suppliers for laser communications and encryption, decryption capabilities.

Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia and operating under a Special Security Agreement (SSA), Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc. offers advanced solutions to meet the most complex U.S. defense, security, space, and intelligence requirements. A long time U.S. government partner, Airbus U.S. leverages world-class satellite, laser communication, rotary and fixed wing solutions to help its National Security focused customers meet their missions.

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.