Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

Environment Simulator

Preparing the F-35 Lightning II, the U.S. Navy’s most advanced fighter, for missions in today’s complex electromagnetic spectrum environment requires an equally advanced test environment. Northrop Grumman’s multispectral testing solution recreates the most accurate mission-like conditions in the laboratory and on the range. Recently, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) Point Mugu took delivery of the most sophisticated test environment the company has ever created.

The CEESIM, SMS and SCS systems delivered to the U.S. Navy for the F-35 Lightning II provide RF simulation, measurement and synchronization of multiple, simultaneous emitters to faithfully simulate true-to-war conditions
The CEESIM, SMS and SCS systems delivered to the U.S. Navy for the F-35 Lightning II provide RF simulation, measurement and synchronization of multiple, simultaneous emitters to faithfully simulate true-to-war conditions

The environment consists of Northrop Grumman’s Combat Electromagnetic Environment Simulator (CEESIM), Signal Measurement System (SMS) and other stimulators, all under control of the Synchronizer Controller System (SCS).

«Keeping the F-35’s systems ready requires a fully integrated test environment like we have developed with CEESIM, SMS and SCS», said Joe Downie, director, land and avionics C4ISR division, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. «These systems work together to provide the environment complexity and density, measurement and analysis capability, and test control capability necessary to evaluate the F-35 in a realistic mission scenario».

At the center of the environment is the CEESIM, which simulates multiple, simultaneous Radio Frequency (RF) emitters as well as static and dynamic platform attributes to faithfully model true-to-war conditions. CEESIM’s Advanced Pulse Generation high speed direct digital synthesizer technology is used to generate realistic electronic warfare mission scenarios.

The SMS provides wide bandwidth signal measurement, recording and analysis capability which is used to validate the test environment and evaluate the system under test performance.

The SCS provides the tools to program an integrated multispectral test scenario, including threat radars, communications signals, radar and Electro-Optical/InfraRed (EO/IR) signatures. The SCS also manages the execution of the scenario by all of the stimulators to ensure a coherent multispectral test environment.

Preliminary design
review

According to Samantha Masunaga, Los Angeles Times correspondent, a U.S. Air Force official told a Senate subcommittee Wednesday that the new B-21 Raider bomber has completed its preliminary design review and that he was «comfortable» with the progress made by builder Northrop Grumman Corp.

B-21 Raider bomber finishes preliminary design review, and Air Force official is 'comfortable' with progress
B-21 Raider bomber finishes preliminary design review, and Air Force official is ‘comfortable’ with progress

The bomber is now on its way to critical design review, said Lieutenant General Arnold Bunch Jr., the military deputy of the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.

Citing the «nature of the work», Bunch declined to go into further detail about how the Air Force planned to spend the $2.3 billion it requested for the bomber program for fiscal year 2019 when asked by Senator Ted Cruz (Republican-Texas). However, he said the program was «continuing engineering manufacturing development» and «some of those risk reduction areas».

The first set of software for the platform has been delivered, and the program is getting «set up» for the next set of software to come in, Bunch told the Senate Armed Forces Subcommittee on Airland during a hearing about Air Force modernization efforts.

«We’re making everything ready to begin our test program in the future», he said. «We’re making good progress. I’m comfortable today with where we’re at, and the progress that Northrop Grumman is making on the program».

Northrop Grumman, which won the bomber contract in 2015, is building the aircraft at its plant in Palmdale. The plant also churns out the Global Hawk high-altitude surveillance drone for the Air Force, the closely related Triton drone for the Navy and the center fuselage for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

The defense giant has been hiring at a rapid pace in Palmdale and expects to have 5,200 employees at the site by late 2019.

German Triton

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Germany of MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for an estimated cost of $2.5 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on April 4, 2018.

After having canceled the EuroHawk Unmanned Aircraft System in 2014 because it could not fly in unsegregated airspace, Germany has now decided to buy four modified Triton naval variants for $2.5 billion (Airbus DS photo)
After having canceled the EuroHawk Unmanned Aircraft System in 2014 because it could not fly in unsegregated airspace, Germany has now decided to buy four modified Triton naval variants for $2.5 billion (Airbus DS photo)

The Government of Germany has requested to buy:

  • four (4) MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS),
  • one (1) Mission Control Station (MCS) comprised of one (1) Main Operating Base (MOB) (MD-3A) and one (1) Forward Operating Base (FOB) (MD-3B),
  • ten (10) Kearfott Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System (INS/GPS) units (2 per aircraft plus 2 spares),
  • ten (10) LN-251 INS/GPS units (2 per aircraft plus 2 spares).

This proposed MQ-4C UAS sale will be a modified version of the USN Triton configuration. Also included is one Rolls Royce Engine (spare), communication equipment, support equipment, mission planning element to include Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) Global Positioning System (GPS) items, Communications Security (COMSEC) equipment, mapping, training, support equipment, consumables, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, ground support equipment, flight test support, airworthiness support, personnel training and training devices, applicable software, hardware, publications and technical data, facilities and maintenance support, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics supports services, and other elements of unique engineering efforts required to support the integration, installation and functional platform compatibility testing of Germany’s indigenous payload and other related elements of logistics and program support, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated total case value is $2.5 billion.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political and economic stability in Europe.

Germany is one of the major political and economic powers in Europe and NATO and a key partner of the United States in ensuring global peace and stability. The proposed sale of the MQ-4C Triton will support legitimate national security requirements and significantly enhance Germany’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and the overall collective security of the European Union and NATO.

The proposed sale of the MQ-4C Triton will close a crucial capability gap and will enhance bilateral and NATO interoperability and will help ensure that Germany is able to continue to monitor and deter regional threats. This proposed MQ-4C UAS sale will be a modified version of the United States Navy (USN) Triton configuration. The German Armed Forces will have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractor will be Northrop Grumman Corporation Rancho Bernardo, CA, responsible for integration, installation and functional platform compatibility testing of the payload. Airbus Defence and Space, located in Germany, will be the prime contractor to Germany for the development and manufacturing, and will be responsible for the functional test, end-to-end test and installed performance. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of contractor representatives to Germany to perform contractor logistics support and to support establishment of required security infrastructure.

There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

Clean Room

All the major elements of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope now reside in a giant clean room at Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Redondo Beach facility, setting the stage for final assembly and testing of the giant space telescope that will explore the origins of the universe and search for life beyond our solar system.

NASAs James Webb Space Telescope Optics and Science Instruments in Northrop Grumman’s Clean Room
NASAs James Webb Space Telescope Optics and Science Instruments in Northrop Grumman’s Clean Room

The Optical Telescope and Integrated Science instrument module (OTIS) arrived at Northrop Grumman in February. It was previously at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it successfully completed cryogenic testing.

OTIS and the spacecraft element, which is Webb’s combined sunshield and spacecraft bus, now both call Northrop Grumman home. Webb is scheduled to launch from Kourou, French Guiana in 2019.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space observatory of the next decade. Webb will solve mysteries of 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, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Phase 1 Swarm

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected Northrop Grumman Corporation as a Phase 1 Swarm Systems Integrator for the Agency’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program. As part of the program, Northrop Grumman will launch its first open architecture test bed and is seeking participants to create and test their own swarm-based tactics on the platform. Northrop Grumman is teamed with Intelligent Automation, Inc. (IAI) and the Interactive Computing Experiences Research Cluster, directed by Doctor Joseph LaViola at the University of Central Florida.

Northrop Grumman Launches First Open Architecture Test Bed to Support DARPAs OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics OFFSET Program
Northrop Grumman Launches First Open Architecture Test Bed to Support DARPAs OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics OFFSET Program

As part of the DARPA OFFSET program, Northrop Grumman serves as a swarm systems integrator, tasked with designing, developing and deploying a swarm-system, open-based architecture for swarm technologies in both a game-based environment and physical test bed. The team has been tasked to produce tactics and technologies to test on the architecture and is responsible for engaging a wider development and user audience through rapid technology-development exercises known as «swarm sprints».

Approximately every six months, DARPA plans to solicit proposals from potential “sprinters” in one of five thrust areas: swarm tactics, swarm autonomy, human-swarm teaming, virtual environment and physical test bed. Participants from academia, small business and large corporations are invited to join in these swarm sprints. Sprinters will work with the integration team to create and test their own novel swarm tactics within the test bed environment. The end of each sprint will coincide with live physical test experiments with DARPA, the systems integrator team and other sprinters.

The goal of the OFFSET program is to provide small-unit infantry forces with small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) or small Unmanned Ground Systems (UGSs) in swarms of 250 or more robots that support diverse missions in complex urban environments. OFFSET seeks to advance the integration of modern swarm tactics and leverage emerging technologies in swarm autonomy and human-swarm teaming.

«Cognitive autonomy has the potential to transform all defense and security systems. OFFSET will explore a variety of applications in relevant mission scenarios», said Vern Boyle, vice president, advanced technologies, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. «We are applying cutting-edge technologies in robotics, robot autonomy, machine learning and swarm control to ultimately enhance our contributions to the warfighter».

James Webb

The two halves of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope now reside at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California, where they will come together to form the complete observatory.

The Space Telescope Transporter for Air, Road and Sea (STTARS) container enclosed with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s Optical Telescope and Integrated Science instrument module (OTIS) arriving at Northrop Grumman Redondo Beach, California facilities on Friday, February 2
The Space Telescope Transporter for Air, Road and Sea (STTARS) container enclosed with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s Optical Telescope and Integrated Science instrument module (OTIS) arriving at Northrop Grumman Redondo Beach, California facilities on Friday, February 2

«This is a major milestone», said Eric Smith, program director for Webb at NASA. «With the arrival of the science payload at Northrop Grumman’s Space Park facility, we will now carefully test the observatory to ensure the work of thousands of scientists and engineers across the globe is ready for launch and will enable people to seek the first luminous objects in the universe and search for signs of habitable planets».

The Optical Telescope and Integrated Science instrument module (OTIS) of Webb arrived at Northrop Grumman on Friday, February 2. It was previously at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it successfully completed cryogenic testing.

In preparation for leaving Johnson, OTIS was placed inside a specially designed shipping container called the Space Telescope Transporter for Air, Road and Sea. The container was then loaded onto a U.S. military C-5 Charlie aircraft at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, just outside of Johnson. From there, OTIS took an overnight flight to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Upon its arrival, OTIS was driven from LAX to Northrop Grumman. OTIS and the spacecraft element, which is Webb’s combined sunshield and spacecraft bus, now both call Northrop Grumman home.

«It’s exciting to have all three Webb elements – OTIS, sunshield and spacecraft bus, here at our campus», said Scott Willoughby, vice president and program manager for Webb at Northrop Grumman. «The team is excited to begin the final stages of integration of the world’s largest space telescope».

During the summer, OTIS will receive additional testing before being combined with the spacecraft element to form the complete James Webb Space Telescope observatory. Once the telescope is fully integrated, the entire observatory will undergo more tests during what is called observatory-level testing.

Webb is scheduled to launch from Kourou, French Guiana, in 2019.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space observatory of the next decade. Webb will solve mysteries of 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, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Net centric radar

Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a contract from the U.S. Army’s Lower Tier Program Office (LTPO) to perform risk reduction for radar technology and associated mission capabilities intended to replace the Army’s 50-year-old Patriot radars.

Northrop Grumman to perform risk reduction for radar technology under Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) contract
Northrop Grumman to perform risk reduction for radar technology under Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor (LTAMDS) contract

LTAMDS will be the Army’s first net centric radar to be added to the Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense enterprise controlled by the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS), which Northrop Grumman also develops. IBCS is the advanced command and control system that integrates air and missile defense sensors and weapons, including Patriot, to generate a real-time comprehensive threat picture and enable any-sensor, best-shooter operations.

Northrop Grumman’s next-generation sensors will potentially benefit from decades-long experience in delivering rapidly deployable ground based radars, such as the high performance AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR active electronically scanned array production radar to the United States Marine Corps. G/ATOR capabilities include comprehensive, real-time, 360-degree multi-threat detection and tracking.

«We are excited about this award and the overall mission capabilities we can provide the Army», said Roshan Roeder, vice president, global ground based radars, Northrop Grumman. «We have more than forty years of experience in providing proven surveillance and threat engagement capabilities to more than 35 global customers».

The First Triton

Northrop Grumman Corp. delivered the first operational MQ-4C Triton aircraft to the U.S. Navy facility at Point Mugu, providing the service with unparalleled endurance and 360-degree coverage that allows for a vastly expanded maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission.

The first operational MQ-4C Triton comes in for a landing at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, on November 9 (Photo credit: U.S. Navy)
The first operational MQ-4C Triton comes in for a landing at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, on November 9 (Photo credit: U.S. Navy)

«This aircraft represents the beginning of a new era for Naval aviation», said Doug Shaffer, vice president, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. «Triton is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned system that delivers a critical autonomous capability to the Navy, expanding the service’s maritime patrol mission. We are proud to be a part of this historic program».

Northrop Grumman is expected to deliver the second operational Triton aircraft later this year. Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu is home to the maintenance detachment of Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP)19. Maintainers will prepare the first two operational Triton aircraft for its employment to Guam, scheduled next year. VUP-19, the U.S. Navy’s first unmanned patrol squadron, is based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida. Pilots and operators will fly the unmanned Triton aircraft from NAS Jacksonville.

The Navy has announced plans to deploy Triton to NAS Mayport, Florida, NAS Sigonella, Italy and the Middle East in the future.

Flying upwards of 55,000 feet/16,764 meters for up to 24 hours at a time, Triton provides unprecedented, persistent 360-degree maritime domain awareness through vessel detection, classification and tracking. Triton aircraft can combine to fly an orbit, with one plane on station and another en route, providing the U.S. Navy with near-constant coverage of huge swaths of ocean and littorals. The program of record ultimately calls for Northrop Grumman to deliver 68 aircraft to the U.S. Navy.

 

MQ-4C Triton

Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System provides real-time Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance over vast ocean and coastal regions. Supporting missions up to 24 hours, the high-altitude UAS is equipped with a sensor suite that provides a 360-degree view of its surroundings at a radius of over 2,000 NM/2,302 miles/3,704 km.

Triton builds on elements of the Global Hawk UAS while incorporating reinforcements to the airframe and wing, along with de-icing and lightning protection systems. These capabilities allow the aircraft to descend through cloud layers to gain a closer view of ships and other targets at sea when needed. The current sensor suite allows ships to be tracked over time by gathering information on their speed, location and classification.

Built to support the U.S. Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program, Triton will support a wide range of intelligence gathering and reconnaissance missions, maritime patrol and search and rescue. The Navy’s program of record calls for 68 aircraft to be built.

 

Key Features

  • Provides persistent maritime ISR at a mission radius of 2,000 NM/2,302 miles/3,704 km; 24 hours/7 days per week with 80% Effective Time On Station (ETOS)
  • Land-based air vehicle and sensor command and control
  • Afloat Level II payload sensor data via line-of-sight
  • Dual redundant flight controls and surfaces
  • 51,000-hour airframe life
  • Due Regard Radar for safe separation
  • Anti/de-ice, bird strike, and lightning protection
  • Communications bandwidth management
  • Commercial off-the-shelf open architecture mission control system
  • Net-ready interoperability solution

 

Payload (360-degree Field of Regard)

Multi-Function Active Sensor Active Electronically Steered Array (MFAS AESA) radar:

  • 2D AESA;
  • Maritime and air-to-ground modes;
  • Long-range detection and classification of targets.

MTS-B multi-spectral targeting system:

  • Electro-optical/infrared;
  • Auto-target tracking;
  • High resolution at multiple field-of-views;
  • Full motion video.

AN/ZLQ-1 Electronic Support Measures:

  • All digital;
  • Specific Emitter Identification.

Automatic Identification System:

  • Provides information received from VHF broadcasts on maritime vessel movements.

 

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

 

Sunshield Deployment

Northrop Grumman Corporation, which designed NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s (JWST) optics, spacecraft bus, and sunshield for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, has deployed the sunshield subsystem and fully tensioned the five sunshield layers for the first time.

At Northrop Grumman highbay facilities in Redondo Beach, California, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s five sunshield layers are fully tensioned for the first time
At Northrop Grumman highbay facilities in Redondo Beach, California, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s five sunshield layers are fully tensioned for the first time

«The first tensioning of the sunshield is a monumental and exciting moment, not only for the program but for the collaborative JWST team», said Scott Willoughby, vice president and program manager, James Webb Space Telescope, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems «The innovative sunshield is an industry first, and will protect Webb’s optics from heat, making it possible to gather images of the formation of the first stars and galaxies more than 13.5 billion years ago».

In space, the sunshield subsystem divides the JWST observatory into a warm sun-facing side and a cold space-facing side comprised of the optics and scientific instruments. The sunshield subsystem, which includes the structure and mechanisms required for deploying the five-layer subsystem, was designed, manufactured and assembled by Northrop Grumman, with the five membrane layers manufactured by the NeXolve Corporation in Huntsville, Alabama.

The flight membranes will be folded, stowed and tensioned again two additional times for testing. The folding and stowing method is how the membranes will be folded and stowed for launch. The sunshield layers, known for being the size of a tennis court, will protect and prevent the background heat from the Sun, Earth and Moon from interfering with JWST’s infrared sensors.

The sunshield layers, each as thin as a human hair, work together to reduce the temperatures between the hot and cold sides of the observatory by approximately 570 degrees Fahrenheit. Moving from the sun-facing layer to the one closest to the telescope, each successive layer of the sunshield, which is made of Kapton, is cooler than the one below. The sunshield, along with the rest of the spacecraft, will fold origami-style into an Ariane 5 rocket.

The James Webb Space Telescope, the scientific complement to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, will be the premier space observatory of the next decade. Webb is an international project led by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

Andros line

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s subsidiary Remotec Inc. is unveiling the newest member of the Andros line of proven Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs), the Interoperability Profile (IOP)-compliant Nomad.

Northrop Grumman’s next-generation multifunction, multimission Andros Nomad is a mid-sized Interoperability Profile-compliant unmanned ground vehicle that offers affordability and versatility with extraordinary mobility
Northrop Grumman’s next-generation multifunction, multimission Andros Nomad is a mid-sized Interoperability Profile-compliant unmanned ground vehicle that offers affordability and versatility with extraordinary mobility

IOP is a U.S. Department of Defense initiative to organize and maintain interoperability standards for UGVs. With IOP-compliant software messaging and hardware interfaces, Nomad can easily integrate the best available capabilities, sensors and payloads for multiple functions and missions.

«Building on our 30-year heritage, Nomad represents another exciting chapter of Andros innovation, performance and value in render-safe operations», said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems division, Northrop Grumman. «Future upgrades can be spiraled via IOP compliance and its next-generation track pods allow Nomad to go where others cannot. We continue to improve affordability. Over the past few months, working with supply chain, advanced materials and manufacturing availability, we have cut even more costs to make the Nomad available to a greater range of users», said Verwiel.

Nomad was designed using a proven concurrent engineering process to develop a superior product at an affordable price. Like other robots in the Northrop Grumman Andros fleet, Nomad incorporates the feedback from decades working with first responder and military customers to offer advanced technology, ease of use and reliability.

The mid-size Nomad weighs 164 pounds/74.4 kg and measures 35.5 inches/90.2 cm long, 23 inches/58.4 cm wide and 26 inches/66 cm high when its mast is horizontal or 42 inches/106.7 cm high when the mast is fully vertical. Nomad’s manipulator arm has a lift capacity of 15 pounds/6.8 kg when fully extended and impressive dexterity through extensive shoulder pitch, shoulder rotation, elbow pitch and wrist roll abilities. Its four independent track pods provide extreme mobility with stability climbing uneven terrain, complex obstacles and inclines as steep as 60 degrees.

Northrop Grumman is the largest provider of ground robots to the first responder market in the U.S. In addition, the company’s UGVs are fielded across all U.S. military services and bomb squads in 36 countries.

With more than 75 years of experience in advanced autonomy, Northrop Grumman’s autonomous systems expand the boundaries of human potential to deliver end-to-end solutions that meet evolving mission requirements for a rapidly changing world.

Northrop Grumman’s newest UGV, the Andros Nomad, has four independent track pods that provide extreme mobility with stability climbing uneven terrain, complex obstacles and inclines as steep as 60 degrees
Northrop Grumman’s newest UGV, the Andros Nomad, has four independent track pods that provide extreme mobility with stability climbing uneven terrain, complex obstacles and inclines as steep as 60 degrees