Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

Optionally-Manned
Firebird

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Firebird multi-sensor aircraft showcased the versatility of the optionally-manned autonomous system as it flew to various locations across the United States last month. The ability of Firebird to be flown manned through national airspace is a demonstration of its unique operational flexibility for self-deployment and its rapid relocation ability to adapt to specific user needs and operational requirements.

Firebird
Northrop Grumman’s Optionally-Manned Firebird Demonstrates Operational Flexibility

The company flew Firebird almost 9,000 miles/14,484 km around the US with stops in Dayton, Ohio; Washington DC; Patuxent River, Maryland; as well as Tampa, Miami and Key West, Florida.

«Our flights showcased one of its key differentiators – the ability to position the system in a manned configuration, then convert to autonomous operations for persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) in under two hours», said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman. «At each stop, plane-side briefings provided customers the opportunity to see first-hand the operational versatility of the platform, its large sensor bay, and rapid configurability for changing mission needs».

Firebird is a medium altitude long endurance Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) that is designed for flexibility and affordability. Customers can install new payloads in as little as one day, and swap payloads in 30 minutes making the system suitable for numerous domains and missions.

The flights concluded in Key West, Florida where the team conducted a series of manned maritime operational events that included a four-sensor package containing two high-definition Electro-Optical and InfraRed Sensors (EO/IR); a maritime configured multi-spectral sensor for small target detection; and an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 97,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

The Firebird multi-sensor aircraft prepares for its multi stop demonstration tour

MUAS for Australia

Northrop Grumman Australia and Leonardo Australia’s team has been shortlisted to proceed to the next phase of the SEA129 Phase 5 program for the acquisition of a Maritime Unmanned Aerial System (MUAS) designed to deliver a deployable Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting (ISR&T) capability to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The Northrop Grumman and Leonardo proposal will enhance capability effects and tactical decision-making during RAN maritime operations.

Leonardo AWHERO
Leonardo AWHERO – First Ocean 2020 sea trial demonstration (Source: Leonardo S.p.A.)

«Northrop Grumman brings decades of unmatched expertise delivering and sustaining unmanned and manned aerial systems for customers in Australia and across the globe», said Christine Zeitz, general manager, Asia Pacific, Northrop Grumman. «We are confident our MUAS offering delivers world-class capability that addresses the RAN’s ISR&T mission requirements and optimises Australian industry capability».

The Northrop Grumman and Leonardo team’s proposal includes the state-of-the-art AWHero MUAS platform and subsystems, a capability specifically designed to operate in complex maritime environments. The AWHero is based on a mature and modular architecture that allows a wide and easily reconfigurable range of payloads including Leonardo’s Maritime Radar for unmatched ISR&T area coverage.

The team’s offering also includes an exportable variant of Northrop Grumman’s ground-breaking Distributed Autonomy/Responsive Control (DA/RC) command and control system. Integrated with the ship, control station and aircraft, DA/RC will deliver enhanced and automated tactical decision making to the RAN to help outmatch threats in a complex, unpredictable threat environment. The collaborative autonomy software will also be incorporated in Northrop Grumman Australia’s distributed systems integration laboratory which will provide the RAN and Australian industry a collaborative development environment to effectively exploit evolving technologies.

«We are excited to join forces with Northrop Grumman and Australian industry partners, further strengthening our collaborative approach in Australia», said Brian McEachen, VP Military Sales Asia-Pacific, Leonardo Helicopters. «The integrated capability of the AWHero leverages Leonardo’s expertise in rotorcraft, system integration, UAS and operations in the maritime domain, which combined with Northrop Grumman’s extensive portfolio of world-leading capabilities and technologies will provide the Royal Australian Navy with a level of advanced MUAS-based ISR&T they seek both now and into the future».

An integral part of the Northrop Grumman and Leonardo proposal is a commitment to maximising Australian industry participation. A robust and reliable domestic support network of proven industry members will be engaged in the production, delivery, sustainment and follow-on development of sovereign MUAS capability to the Australian Defence Force to meet the RAN’s current and future needs.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 97,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Next Generation
Interceptor

The Department of Defense has awarded two contracts to Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. in support of the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) program. With an estimated maximum value of $1.6 billion through fiscal year 2022, this contract award is structured to carry two designs into the technology development and risk reduction phase of the acquisition program to reduce technical and schedule risk. This award will ensure NGI is an efficient and effective part of an integrated Missile Defense System (MDS) solution.

Next Generation Interceptor
The MDA down selects Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. teams to deliver Next Generation Interceptor

The Missile Defense Agency awards on March 23, 2021 support the department’s goal of increased competition by funding two designs while remaining flexible to align with evolving Defense Department strategies and priorities.

«Today’s awards are an important step in modernizing our Missile Defense System», said Stacy Cummings, performing the duties of Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. «NGI plays an important role in our homeland defense, and our acquisition strategy is ensuring the department maximizes innovation to keep pace with rapidly advancing threats».

As the ground-based midcourse missile defense system, NGI is an advanced interceptor designed to protect the nation against intercontinental ballistic missile attack. The department will uphold «fly before you buy» principles to ensure the overall system and components have been rigorously flight-tested prior to making any procurement decisions.

«NGI is the result of the first holistic technical assessment of homeland defenses the department has conducted since initial system operations began in 2004», added Vice Admiral Jon Hill, Director, Missile Defense Agency. «By planning to carry two vendors through technology development, MDA will maximize the benefits of competition to deliver the most effective and reliable homeland defense missile to the warfighter as soon as possible. Once fielded, this new homeland defense interceptor will be capable of defeating expected threat advances into the 2030s and beyond».

Operationally suitable

The U.S. Army has declared the Northrop Grumman Corporation Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) system operationally suitable, effective and ready for full-rate production following a successful six-month Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) activity.

CIRCM
CIRCM protects U.S. Army aircraft from emerging missile threats

«Through our partnership with the U.S. Army and our suppliers, we have already delivered over 100 production systems», said Bob Gough, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman. «The successful completion of IOT&E confirms CIRCM’s readiness for full-rate production».

CIRCM’s dual-jammer configuration helps to protect aircrews while providing the highest level of aircraft survivability. The CIRCM system provides protection against a wide range of infrared-guided anti-aircraft missile threats, including shoulder-fired and vehicle-launched.

During the rigorous testing, the system was flown through a multitude of scenarios and environments to assess CIRCM’s ability to detect, engage and defeat threats. The system rapidly defeated all threats during IOT&E, proving it is ready to support the complex missions of the U.S. Army.

In addition to baseline performance, the system’s next-generation open architecture design will enable rapid and timely capability enhancements to keep pace with changing mission needs.

Northrop Grumman also leverages digital engineering technologies and lean-Agile methodologies to deliver continued system improvement throughout CIRCM’s lifecycle to counter new and evolving threats.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 97,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Alliance Surveillance

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s RQ-4D Phoenix Global Hawk has recently enabled NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) Force to achieve a declaration of initial operating capability (IOC) from Supreme Allied Commander Europe, giving NATO commanders the ability to perform uninterrupted in-theater operations 24/7/365. The RQ-4D Phoenix Global Hawk variant provides cutting-edge Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) in support of global security.

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

«NATO AGS will help the Alliance with persistent regional defense and deterrence», said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman. «The commitment of the entire AGS team partnership – both government and industry – has shown incredible dedication, working across cultures, time zones and languages, all aiming toward one goal – providing the Alliance with this critical capability».

The NATO AGS system is comprised of five aircraft, ground and support segments, along with advanced sensor technologies. The Phoenix aircraft has met the rigorous standards required for the first large unmanned aerial vehicle – military type certification and approved by the Italian Directorate of Aeronautical Armaments and Airworthiness (DAAA). Companies from across NATO member nations, including Leonardo, Airbus and Kongsberg, comprise the Northrop Grumman-led industry team that developed the NATO AGS capability.

The wide area surveillance of the RQ-4D Global Hawk and the fixed, mobile and transportable ground stations will support a full range of missions, including protection of ground troops and civilian populations, border control, crisis management and humanitarian assistance in natural disasters. The platform’s high-altitude, long-endurance capability delivers sustained, uninterrupted in-theater operations providing an unprecedented amount of ISR data to the Alliance. With the state-of-the-art main operating base at the Italian Air Base, Sigonella, Italy, data can be rapidly disseminated to allied forces, providing an unmatched advantage.

Northrop Grumman’s family of autonomous High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) systems, including Global Hawk, are a critical component of networked, global ISR collection for allied nations and mutual defense organizations around the world. Global Hawk collects ISR data that enables decision makers to act with the right information at the right time.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 97,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

LongShot Concept

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) Tactical Technology Office (TTO) to develop an advanced technology weapon concept designed to significantly increase engagement range and weapon effectiveness of U.S. Forces against adversary air threats.

LongShot
Northrop Grumman to Develop Advanced Air-to-Air Missile Engagement Concept

«Our collaboration with DARPA is the critical first step in the development of innovative operational concepts and solutions that will enhance our warfighter’s combat capability against a rapidly growing threat», said Jaime Engdahl, program director, kinetic weapons and emerging capabilities, Northrop Grumman. «The LongShot program enables us to combine our digital engineering skillset with our extensive knowledge in advanced technology weapons, autonomous systems and strike platforms to increase weapon range and effectiveness».

Spurred by rapid technological advancements and an ever more dangerous and disruptive battlefield, DARPA’s LongShot program will explore new lethal engagement concepts by leveraging multi-modal propulsion, weapon systems that can be operationally deployed from existing fighters or bombers.

DARPA’s advanced aerospace systems activities are focused on utilizing high pay-off opportunities to provide revolutionary new system capabilities, as opposed to incremental or evolutionary advancements, in order to achieve undeterrable air presence at dramatically reduced costs.

The LongShot program enables Northrop Grumman to combine its expertise in weapon system design, survivability, autonomy, advanced mission systems and rapid prototyping to deliver advanced solutions that help to maintain a competitive military advantage in highly contested environments.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 97,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Test of New Rocket

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) conducted a validation ground test of an extended length 63-inch-diameter/160-centimetre-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM 63XL) on January 21 in Promontory. 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 rocket.

GEM 63XL
Northrop Grumman conducted a validation test of its GEM 63XL rocket motor on January 21 at its Promontory, Utah, facility. The GEM 63XL will support the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle

«This new motor optimizes our best-in-class technologies and leverages flight-proven solid rocket propulsion designs to provide our customers with the most reliable product», said Charlie Precourt, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman. «Evolving the original GEM 63 design utilizes our decades of GEM strap-on booster expertise while enhancing capabilities for heavy-lift missions».

During today’s static test, the motor fired for approximately 90 seconds, producing nearly 449,000 pounds/203,663 kg of thrust to validate the performance capability of the motor design. Additionally, this firing verified the motor’s internal insulation, propellant grain, ballistics and nozzle in a hot-conditioned environment.

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. The first GEM 63 motors supported ULA’s Atlas V rocket in November 2020.

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.

WISŁA program

Northrop Grumman Corporation has taken delivery of six shelters that will be outfitted as Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) Engagement Operations Centers (EOC) for Poland. Poland has acquired the U.S. Army IBCS configuration and this delivery supports the production start of the IBCS hardware for Poland’s WISŁA air and missile defense program from Northrop Grumman’s Huntsville Manufacturing Center.

WISŁA
Shelters arrive at the Huntsville Manufacturing Facility where they will be outfitted as IBCS Engagement Operations Centers for Poland

During this production phase, IBCS hardware is installed in the shelters to create functioning EOCs. These IBCS EOCs are integrated with IBCS battle management software that maximizes the combat potential of sensors and weapon systems. Once the integration is complete, the EOCs will undergo an acceptance test prior to delivery to the U.S. government, which in turn will deliver to Poland as part of the foreign military sales contract for WISŁA.

«Receiving these shelters and kicking off production marks a critical milestone on the WISLA program and gets us one step closer to fielding this capability in Poland», said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. «Our Huntsville Manufacturing Center production line is ready and equipped to deliver these command centers on time and on budget».

The Huntsville Manufacturing Center has a long heritage supporting large scale manufacturing programs including the Army’s Command Post Platform. Northrop Grumman has successfully developed, integrated and delivered IBCS major end items such as engagement operations centers, the entire command post environment, integrated fire control network relays and plug-and-fight kits that have all been used by U.S. soldiers in highly successful, operationally realistic tests and that warfighters will use once the system is fielded.

The acquisition of IBCS is a major component of Poland’s WISLA air and missile defense modernization program. In March 2018, Poland signed a foreign military sales agreement with the U.S. government to purchase IBCS and became the first international partner country to acquire this transformational capability. By acquiring IBCS, Poland will modernize its air and missile defense forces toward assuring interoperability with U.S. forces and within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

IBCS is the centerpiece of the U.S. Army’s modernization strategy for air and missile defense to address the changing battlefield. 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.

LCS Hardware

Teledyne Technologies Incorporated announced that its subsidiary, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc., was awarded an $18 million contract from Northrop Grumman to manufacture four additional Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) units for the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM)
Teledyne Brown Engineering Awarded Additional $18 Million Contract for LCS Hardware

Teledyne Brown Engineering will manufacture, assemble and test the SSMMs at the company’s main facility in Huntsville, Alabama. This is Teledyne’s second award to build the hardware, which initially began under contract in September 2019. Once the systems are complete, they will be integrated with Launch Control Assemblies and other equipment into the modules. Teledyne Brown Engineering, along with Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy, will validate the system using SSMM-specific software and emulators.

The SSMM is a modular weapons system, which fires Longbow Hellfire Missiles and complements the Gun Mission Module (GMM), also manufactured by Teledyne Brown Engineering in Huntsville. These modules provide additional capabilities to the Littoral Combat Ships which are used for defense against swarming Fast Attack Craft/Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FAC/FIAC), counter-piracy, maritime interdiction, and security missions.

«We are pleased to announce the continuation of our collaboration with Northrop Grumman to deliver state-of-the-art enhancements to our nation’s military», stated Jan Hess, President of Teledyne Brown Engineering.

Teledyne Brown Engineering has supported this program and its mission for over a decade building Littoral Combat Ship Mission Modules.

A critical next step

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS), developed in partnership with the U.S. Army, has received authorization to proceed with Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) following a successful Milestone C decision for the program. This milestone, approved by the Department of Defense, represents a critical next step in moving the program closer to future deployment.

IBCS
Soldiers of the U.S. Army operational Air and Missile Defense Battalion Task Force under test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico this past August (Source U.S. Army)

«The decision by our senior leaders to transition IBCS from development into initial production reflects their confidence in the maturity of the system and its readiness for operational testing to inform Initial Operational Capability», said Major General Rob Rasch, Army Program Executive Officer, Missiles and Space. «The soldiers of the 3-43 Air Defense Artillery Battalion performed tremendously in training and testing over the last year, and are poised to demonstrate the game-changing capabilities of IBCS next Fall during the Initial Operational Test & Evaluation».

To achieve Milestone C, Northrop Grumman worked in partnership with the U.S. Army’s Integrated Fires Mission Command Program Office in the system engineering, design, development and testing of IBCS hardware and software. Since 2015, the program has executed seven successful flight tests conducted under complex and operationally realistic conditions, demonstrating new game changing capabilities that the system will deliver upon fielding.

Most recently, IBCS underwent a Limited User Test that included testing of an operational Air and Missile Defense Battalion Task Force and featured two operational flight tests, which culminated in successful intercepts of complex, threat representative cruise and ballistic missile targets. Over its development life cycle, IBCS has undergone extensive Hardware-In-The-Loop (HWIL), environmental, live fire, and developmental testing and has participated in numerous Joint and U.S. Army exercises. These tests and exercises along with soldier touch-points have provided excellent feedback and data to drive significant performance improvements throughout the development phase of the IBCS program to inform the Milestone C decision.

«We are proud to have contributed to this landmark achievement that will help our warfighters better address and defeat evolving threats», said Kenn Todorov, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. «This milestone is a true testament to the commitment and dedication of all the men and women who have worked tirelessly over many years to deliver a truly revolutionary system».

IBCS is the centerpiece of the U.S. Army’s modernization strategy for air and missile defense to address the ever-changing nature of warfare. Designed to connect the force for unified action across all domains against evolving threats, IBCS is a software-defined, network-enabled command and control system that integrates and optimizes «any-sensor, best-effector» toward enabling Joint Multi-domain Operations and command and control.

Built on a modular and open systems approach network, IBCS employs a net-centric integrated fire control network that enables the acquisition, identification and engagement of air and missile threats. IBCS enhances battlefield survivability by creating a resilient self-healing network that can reduce and eliminate vectors of attack while providing commanders and operators with a single integrated air picture of unprecedented breadth, range and accuracy.

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.

EOC
Northrop Grumman has produced and delivered major end items to the Army, including Engagement Operations Centers (EOC) and Integrated Fire Control Network relays (IFCN), that have been used by soldiers in highly successful, operationally realistic flight tests