Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

Limited User Testing

Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered software to the U.S. Army for the UH-60V Black Hawk helicopter to enter Limited User Testing (LUT) – a critical milestone leading into production.

As the supplier of the Integrated Avionics Suite for the UH-60V Black Hawk helicopter, Northrop Grumman has delivered software for the helicopter to enter Limited User Testing – a critical milestone leading into production
As the supplier of the Integrated Avionics Suite for the UH-60V Black Hawk helicopter, Northrop Grumman has delivered software for the helicopter to enter Limited User Testing – a critical milestone leading into production

Under a contract awarded in 2014, Northrop Grumman is partnering with the U.S. Army Prototype Integration Facility and prime contractor Redstone Defense Systems to modernize the Army’s fleet of UH‑60L helicopters through cost-effective cockpit upgrades, replacing older analog gauges with digital electronic instrument displays.

Northrop Grumman is supplying the Integrated Avionics Suite for the upgraded aircraft, designated the UH-60V, which features one of the Army’s most advanced avionics solutions to enable the complex missions of the army aviation warfighter.

Through this latest milestone, Northrop Grumman has provided a digital cockpit software build that includes all the functionality required for LUT, which will evaluate the system’s operational readiness, capabilities and compatibility with the UH-60M Pilot-Vehicle Interface. This important test informs the Milestone C Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) decision. The UH-60V is scheduled to enter LRIP in 2019.

«This software delivery milestone is an important step forward in our journey to provide cutting-edge capabilities and mission-enabling solutions to warfighters through an affordable, low-risk digital cockpit upgrade», said Ed Griebel, director, land & avionics C4ISR division, Northrop Grumman. «Our mission solution preserves investment in the Black Hawk fleet while modernizing the aircraft to provide warfighters with a decisive advantage».

Northrop Grumman’s scalable, fully integrated mission equipment package enables enhanced pilot situational awareness and mission safety, as well as decreased pilot workload and life cycle cost. The UH-60V’s Pilot-Vehicle Interface (PVI) is nearly identical to the UH‑60M PVI, providing common training and operational employment.

Northrop Grumman’s open architecture approach provides greater flexibility and enables upgrades to be done with or without the original equipment manufacturer’s involvement. In addition to the UH-60V, Northrop Grumman’s scalable and fully integrated architecture is and can be applied to numerous platforms such as the E‑2D, AH-1F/S and other aircraft worldwide. The operators of these aircraft can reduce their logistics footprint by having common avionics in multiple platforms and avoid sustaining large component inventories.

The UH-60V meets the standards for safety-critical software development and is designed to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency’s Global Air Traffic Management requirements, enabling the system to traverse military and civilian airspace worldwide. It is also certifiable and compliant with safety-critical avionics standards such as DO-178C.

Operational Test

USS Coronado (LCS-4) and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VX-1) completed the first comprehensive Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) for the MQ-8C Fire Scout, June 29.

PACIFIC OCEAN (June 21, 2018). Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Salvatore Green, left, and Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Jake Price, both assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1, prepare the MC-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter for launch aboard the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Jalen Robinson/Released)
PACIFIC OCEAN (June 21, 2018). Aviation Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Salvatore Green, left, and Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Jake Price, both assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1, prepare the MC-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter for launch aboard the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS-4) (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Jalen Robinson/Released)

Results from this IOT&E will inform decision-makers on how best to integrate the U.S. Navy’s newest unmanned helicopter with Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and other platforms.

During the IOT&E, the MQ-8C Fire Scout performed several mission scenarios aboard Coronado off the coast of southern California. These operations are an important milestone for the LCS and Fire Scout programs and demonstrated cohesion between the surface and aviation platforms.

«The results, lessons learned, and recommendations reported on following this underway test period are absolutely invaluable to the future of the MQ-8C Fire Scout’s mission effectiveness and suitability to perform that mission», said Lieutenant Commander Seth Ervin, the lead for the VX-1 detachment aboard Coronado.

Coronado and VX-1 conducted simulated engagements to evaluate Fire Scout’s role in target identification, intelligence gathering and surface warfare operations.

The testing also focused on developing practices for simultaneously operating and maintaining both the MQ-8C Fire Scout and the MH-60S Seahawk. Results confirmed that while it requires extensive planning and coordination across the ship, simultaneous operations can be conducted.

«It has been challenging and rewarding to be one of the first maintainers afforded the opportunity to take both aircraft aboard the ship. Working together, we made the overall product more functional and efficient for the fleet», said Aviation Machinist’s Mate Second Class Salvatore Greene, a member of VX-1.

The chance to contribute to technological and tactical improvements within the LCS community creates a notable opportunity for Coronado’s experienced crew.

«My crew is excited to build upon their past experiences operating with Fire Scout and continue to improve our proficiency as a war-fighting team», said Commander Lawrence Repass, the commanding officer of Coronado.

The first ship-based flight of the MQ-8C Fire Scout occurred aboard USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109) in December 2014, and previous underway testing was also conducted with USS Montgomery (LCS-8) in April 2017.

Pierside testing of the MQ-8C Fire Scout will continue onboard Coronado throughout mid-July with a focus on maintenance and cyber. Coronado is one of four designated LCS testing ships homeported in San Diego.

LCS is a high-speed, agile, shallow draft, mission-focused surface combatant designed for operations in the littoral environment, yet fully capable of open ocean operations. As part of the surface fleet, LCS has the ability to counter and outpace evolving threats independently or within a network of surface combatants.

 

Specifications

Length 41.4 feet/12.6 m
Width 7.8 feet/2.4 m
Blades Folded Hangar 7.8×34.7×10.9 feet/2.4×10.6×3.3 m
Height 10.9 feet/3.3 m
Rotor Diameter 35 feet/10.7 m
Gross Takeoff Weight 6,000 lbs./2,721.5 kg
Engine Rolls-Royce M250-C47B with FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control)

 

Performance

Speed 140 knots/161 mph/259 km/h (maximum)
Operational Ceiling 17,000 feet/5,182 m
Maximum Endurance 14 hrs.
Maximum Payload (Internal) 1,000 lbs./453.6 kg
Typical Payload 600 lbs./272 kg (11 hrs. endurance)
Maximum Sling Load 2,650 lbs./1,202 kg

 

Engine Specifications

Power 651 shp/485.45 kW
Pressure ratio 9.2
Length 42.95 inch/1.09 m
Diameter 24.81 inch/0.63 m
Basic weight 274 lbs./124.3 kg
Compressor 1CF (centrifugal high-pressure)
Turbine 2HP (two-stage high-pressure turbine), 2PT (two-stage power turbine)

 

Polar System

Northrop Grumman Corporation reached a significant milestone in the Enhanced Polar System (EPS) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) program last fall when the U.S. Air Force signed the DD-250, representing formal acceptance of EPS CAPS by the customer.

Northrop Grumman Enhanced Polar System Control and Planning Segment Accepted by US Air Force
Northrop Grumman Enhanced Polar System Control and Planning Segment Accepted by US Air Force

This milestone marks the completion of a five-year effort to design, develop, test and deliver the EPS CAPS for the Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate (MILSATCOM) and the beginning of a new effort, valued at $23 million, to extend the company’s support role through December 2018.

«Our commitment to quality and performance underpinned our ability to deliver on a ground system of this complexity and strategic importance», said Kenny Robinson, vice president, strategic force programs, Northrop Grumman. «We worked closely with our customer to meet all acceptance criteria, leading to a high-quality product that meets, and in many cases, exceeds functional, performance and security requirements. We are proud to serve as a mission partner on EPS CAPS and committed to supporting the Air Force as we prepare for initial operating capacity».

The U.S. Air Force’s EPS provides secure, jam-resistant satellite communications coverage to forces in the North Polar Region (above 65 degrees north latitude) in support of national objectives. CAPS is a next-generation ground system that receives telemetry and supplies configuration commands, mission planning and cryptographic planning for the two EPS polar-orbiting payloads.

Completion of the DD-250 milestone required meeting a set of rigorous acceptance criteria. This included complying with the Security Technical Implementation Guide, which is published by the Defense Information Systems Agency to help government and commercial computer networks achieve maximum security.

«Typically, ground systems take between 8-10 years to complete. However, in just under five years, the EPS CAPS team completed a full life-cycle of requirements, design, development, testing and acceptance to complete this effort», added Robinson.

The follow-on support contract started September 2017 and will span 15 months to include operations and maintenance of EPS CAPS during testing of the overall system.

Northrop Grumman was awarded the original contract in November 2012 to develop, build and deliver EPS CAPS. The MILSATCOM directorate at the Air Force’s Space and Missile System Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is acquiring EPS and EPS CAPS.

Primary design, development and testing was performed in Redondo Beach, California, with additional CAPS work performed in Orlando, Florida, and Needham and Marlborough, Massachusetts.

Full-rate production

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s center fuselage of the F-35 Lightning II recently entered full-rate production. This milestone marks the beginning of a 1.5-day Production Interval (PI) meaning a center fuselage will be produced every day and a half.

Northrop Grumman quality team performs final inspection of an F-35 center fuselage produced by the company at its Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence
Northrop Grumman quality team performs final inspection of an F-35 center fuselage produced by the company at its Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence

«Our customers and warfighters deserve the best», said Frank Carus, vice president and F-35 program manager, Northrop Grumman. «Every efficiency, every minute, and every dollar we save reduces costs and speeds up the F-35’s availability to the warfighter. Achieving this pace is a testament to our employees, suppliers and teammates’ commitment to quality and affordability».

Carus also noted that the 400th F-35 center fuselage was completed and delivered to Lockheed Martin last month and production of the 500th F-35 center fuselage began last week.

«This pace of military aircraft production has not been seen in decades», said Kevin Mickey, sector vice president and general manager, military aircraft systems, Northrop Grumman. «Our revolutionary approach on the integrated assembly line pairs advanced technology with data-driven analytics to manufacture advanced aircraft while delivering top quality products on time, and often ahead of schedule».

A core structure of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft, the center fuselage is produced on Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Assembly Line (IAL) at its Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence. The IAL is a state-of-the-art facility supported by technologies exclusive to or pioneered by Northrop Grumman bringing together robotics, autonomous systems, virtual 3D and predictive automation to the forefront of center fuselage production.

«As we prepare for full rate production of the F-35, many of our teammates and suppliers are now transitioning to full rate, aligning their production lead times with the F-35 final assembly that supports increased warfighter demand», said Eric Branyan, vice president of F-35 supply chain at Lockheed Martin. «Northrop Grumman plays a critical role in the F-35 enterprise and we look forward to continuing to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and deliver transformational F-35 capabilities for the men and women in uniform».

Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development and production of the F-35 weapons system. In addition to producing the jet’s center fuselage and wing skins for the aircraft, the company develops, 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.

Australian Triton

The Australian Department of Defence officially announced its plan on June 26, 2018 to purchase the Northrop Grumman Corporation-built MQ-4C Triton aircraft system, further cementing the company’s commitment to a longstanding U.S. ally.

Australia to purchase MQ-4C Triton aircraft system, delivering unprecedented maritime domain awareness
Australia to purchase MQ-4C Triton aircraft system, delivering unprecedented maritime domain awareness

An unmanned aircraft system with an autonomous capability built for maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, MQ-4C Triton is the first Northrop Grumman-built aircraft system Australia has purchased. The system will be operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

«Northrop Grumman looks forward to bringing the MQ-4C Triton unmanned system with its autonomous capability to Australia», said Ian Irving, chief executive officer, Northrop Grumman Australia. «Working with the Royal Australian Air Force and the U.S. Navy, we are confident that we can provide the best capability to fulfill Australia’s maritime mission».

Triton can fly at altitudes of 55,000 feet/16,764 m for 24 hours at a time and is equipped with sensors that provide high-resolution imagery and near real-time video. Pilots and sensor operators fly the Triton from ground stations, which can command flights all over the world.

«Triton provides unprecedented endurance and 360-degree coverage through its unique sensor suite», said Doug Shaffer, vice president of MQ-4C Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. «Australia has one of the largest sea zones in the world over which it has rights to use marine resources, also known as an Economic Exclusion Zone. As a flexible platform, MQ-4C Triton can serve in missions as varied as maritime domain awareness, target acquisition, fisheries protection, oil field monitoring and humanitarian relief».

MQ-4C Triton builds on Northrop Grumman’s legacy of success in autonomous systems. The U.S. Navy recently acquired two operational MQ-4C Triton aircraft and is under contract for six more. These aircraft will go to Guam later this year and provide the Navy with an unprecedented common operating picture of the maritime environment. MQ-4C Triton can detect, classify and track ships over large swaths of ocean and littorals. The U.S. Navy program of record is for 68 aircraft.

Northrop Grumman has been building its presence Down Under for many years. The global aerospace and technology company will be the anchor tenant of an AUD $50 million Electronic Sustainment Centre of Excellence, to be established at the Badgerys Creek Airport precinct in western Sydney. The new centre will support advanced electronics such as communications and electronic warfare equipment and targeting pods. Northrop Grumman will bring together highly skilled technicians, engineers and other professionals whose work will be further supported by the company’s high-end technology and software expertise.

Through a Global Supply Chain Deed signed with the Australian Department of Defence in 2011 and renewed in 2017, Northrop Grumman is identifying opportunities for Australian industry to be part of the company’s global supply chain. For example, Northrop Grumman’s largest Australian F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter supplier, Quickstep Technologies, demonstrated that its new production facility is equipped and qualified to manufacture and deliver quality composite parts for the F-35’s centre fuselage. At a new facility opened in Bankstown, Sydney, in 2012, Quickstep is expected to manufacture over 36,000 parts for the F-35.

Northrop Grumman also works with CEA Technologies, one of Australia’s leading military electronic systems and radar companies, and Electro Optics Systems, which develops products incorporating advanced electro-optic technologies for the global aerospace market.

«Australia and the United States are celebrating 100 Years of Mateship this year, marking an alliance that goes back to the trenches of WWI. Northrop Grumman is proud to partner with such a loyal friend and provide this unprecedented capability to the RAAF», said Irving. «We consider Triton and its autonomous technology to be the future of the next centennial of aviation, and we are honored to be part of this century-long partnership».

 

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

 

Flight Operations

Northrop Grumman Corp. joined the U.S. Navy in officially welcoming the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system to the fleet with a ceremony on May 31 to celebrate the commencement of flight operations.

The first two operational MQ-4C Triton aircraft at home in their newly refurbished hangar at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu. The insignia of Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP)-19, the Navy’s first unmanned patrol squadron, can be seen behind them
The first two operational MQ-4C Triton aircraft at home in their newly refurbished hangar at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu. The insignia of Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP)-19, the Navy’s first unmanned patrol squadron, can be seen behind them

Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Point Mugu is home to the maintenance detachment of Unmanned Patrol Squadron (VUP)-19 DET Point Mugu, the Navy’s first unmanned patrol squadron. Maintainers are conducting training and tests on the Triton aircraft before it deploys to Guam later this year.

Point Mugu has also completely refurbished an existing hangar that will accommodate up to four Triton aircraft with its 130.9-foot/40-meter wingspan. The first two Triton aircraft are located at Point Mugu.

Brian Chappel, sector vice president and general manager, Autonomous Systems, Northrop Grumman, joined Doug Shaffer, vice president, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman, and Rear Admiral William Wheeler III in cutting the ribbon on the refurbished hangar.

«With each new part of the Triton infrastructure that the Navy stands up, we move closer to making Triton operational and showing the fleet what this remarkable aircraft system can do», Shaffer said. «I look forward to the day when this hangar is full of activity leading up to the Guam employment».

«As Naval Base Ventura County’s representative in Congress, I am proud to support the MQ-4C Triton aircraft system», said U.S. Representative Julia Brownley, Ventura County. «The Triton is an essential component of the Navy’s future intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, and a critical program for the continued strength of Naval Base Ventura County and our national security. I have made funding for research, development, and procurement of the Triton a top priority. When fully developed, this program will bring jobs and an economic boost to Ventura County».

Built by Northrop Grumman, the MQ-4C Triton is an unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft system with an autonomous capability that is piloted from a ground station. Triton can fly for up to 24 hours and reach altitudes of up to 55,000 feet/16,764 m. Flying high above the battle space, Triton provides a critical common operating picture, disseminating images and near-real time video to commanders around the world.

 

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

 

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.