Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

Environmental Test

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Spacecraft Element (SCE) successfully completed its last environmental test, thermal vacuum testing, at Northrop Grumman Corporation in Redondo Beach.

A view of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s Spacecraft Element surrounded by heater plates before testing a spectrum of hot protoflight temperatures for thermal vacuum testing

Thermal vacuum testing exposes Webb’s SCE to the extreme hot and cold temperatures it will experience in space. To test these extreme temperature ranges, the chamber uses liquid nitrogen shrouds and heater panels to expose the SCE to cold temperatures as low as -300 degrees Fahrenheit/-184.4 degrees Celsius and hot temperatures as high as 220 degrees Fahrenheit/101.4 degrees Celsius. Real-time data collection via flight sensors on the SCE allow engineers to monitor Webb’s electrical/unit functionality and ensures the structure will withstand the rigors of its cold journey to and operation at the second Lagrange point.

«The world’s largest space telescope has to perform in extreme temperatures», said Scott Willoughby, vice president and program manager, James Webb Space Telescope, Northrop Grumman. «Successful completion of thermal vacuum testing ensures the SCE can endure the volatile conditions it will face and further validates Webb’s readiness for launch».

Webb’s SCE completed its two prior environmental tests (acoustic and sine vibration). After thermal vacuum testing, the SCE will return to Northrop Grumman’s clean room to begin post-environmental testing, including deployments. Later this year, the Webb telescope will become a fully integrated observatory for the first time through integration of the SCE to the Optical Telescope Element/Integrated Science Instrument Module.

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

First Stage Test

Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully conducted a full-scale static fire test of the first stage of its new OmegA rocket on May 30, 2019, in Promontory, Utah. This milestone keeps OmegA on track to perform its first launch in 2021 and begin operational launches of national security payloads in 2022.

Northrop Grumman successfully completes first stage test for OmegA rocket

«The OmegA rocket is a top priority and our team is committed to provide the U.S. Air Force with assured access to space for our nation’s most critical payloads», said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager, flight systems, Northrop Grumman. «We committed to test the first stage of OmegA in spring 2019, and that’s exactly what we’ve done».

During today’s test, the first stage motor fired for approximately 122 seconds, producing more than two million pounds of maximum thrust – roughly the equivalent to that of eight-and-a-half jumbo jets. The test verified the performance of the motor’s ballistics, insulation and joints as well as control of the nozzle position.

Last October, the U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $792 million contract to complete detailed design and verification of OmegA and launch sites. Today’s test verified performance of the first stage solid rocket motor for the intermediate version of OmegA.

The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act specified that a domestic next-generation rocket propulsion system «shall be developed by not later than 2019». With today’s successful test fire, Northrop Grumman demonstrated the company is on track to meet this Congressionally-mandated schedule.

«Congratulations to the entire team on today’s successful test», said Kent Rominger, OmegA vice president, Northrop Grumman. «OmegA’s design using flight-proven hardware enables our team to meet our milestones and provide an affordable launch system that meets our customer’s requirements and timeline».

A full-scale static fire test of OmegA’s second stage is planned for this fall.

OmegA’s design leverages flight proven technologies from Northrop Grumman’s Pegasus, Minotaur and Antares rockets as well as the company’s interceptors, targets and strategic rockets. Northrop Grumman has conducted nearly 80 successful space launch missions and has decades of experience launching critical payloads for the U.S. Department of Defense, civil and commercial customers.

The company’s vehicle development team is working on the program in Arizona, Utah, Mississippi and Louisiana, with launch integration and operations planned at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The program will also support thousands of jobs across the country in its supply chain.

Flight Test

Northrop Grumman Corporation, in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate, demonstrated the first Software Defined Radio (SDR)-based, M-code enabled GPS receiver on production-capable hardware during a recent flight test. In real-time, the SDR acquired and tracked the modernized GPS military signal, known as M-code, during a live-sky demonstration.

Northrop Grumman Demonstrates GPS Software Defined Radio Navigation Solution During Flight Test

Additionally, Northrop Grumman achieved a security certification milestone by attaining Certification Requirements Review approval for the SDR-based GPS receiver from the GPS Directorate. This milestone constitutes a critical step on the way to fielding an M-code enabled GPS receiver that can be operated in an unclassified environment.

«Northrop Grumman’s secure software defined GPS solution provides an unprecedented level of agility and enables our customers to outpace the threat», said Vern Boyle, vice president, advanced technologies, Northrop Grumman.

Using a system-on-a-chip SDR approach, in lieu of the traditional fixed application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design, enabled the platform to make rapid real-time field changes, an important capability in an evolving threat environment.

Joint Threat Emitter

Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a $46 million delivery order for eight Joint Threat Emitter (JTE) Units. This award is a part of the indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity JTE Enhanced Delivery Initiative contract awarded by the U.S. Air Force in December 2018.

JTE is a ruggedized system that is easily relocated, reactive to aircrew/aircraft for fast-jet, fixed-wing and rotary-wing defensive measures, and can be rapidly reprogrammed with new threat parameters

JTE is a mobile air defense electronic warfare threat simulator that provides high-fidelity replication of surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery threats for aircrew training.

«JTE is critical to the success of the U.S. military and our international allies», said James Conroy, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR, Northrop Grumman. «The system ensures aircrews are better equipped to identify and effectively counter the most advanced enemy missile and artillery threats».

Awarded by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, this award includes the delivery of eight wide-band variants of the threat emitter unit, as well as retrofit kits for some existing systems. Deliveries are slated for U.S. training ranges across the country and to select international locations. This will mark the second set of JTE systems delivered internationally. All work under this contract will be performed in Buffalo.

Northrop Grumman’s JTE is the current U.S. Air Force program of record with 30 systems fielded both domestically and internationally. The JTE provides a modern, reactive battlespace war environment, designed to help train military personnel to identify and effectively counter enemy missile or artillery threats.

Navigation system

Northrop Grumman Corporation has released SeaFIND (Sea Fiber Optic Inertial Navigation with Data Distribution), a next generation maritime inertial navigation system succeeding the company’s MK-39 Mod 3 and 4 series Inertial Navigation System product line.

SeaFIND is significantly smaller, lighter and uses less power than its predecessor, the MK-39 Mod 3A
SeaFIND is significantly smaller, lighter and uses less power than its predecessor, the MK-39 Mod 3A

SeaFIND provides proven navigation capabilities in a compact and affordable package, making it ideal for applications where low cost as well as reduced size, weight and power requirements are critical. It is the first maritime inertial navigation system to move from the existing ring laser technology to Northrop Grumman’s new enhanced fiber optic gyro technology (eFOG). The system has embedded navigation data distribution capabilities, leveraging Northrop Grumman’s proprietary algorithms for low data latency and allowing for the system to interface with a multitude of users that require accurate position and timing.

«SeaFIND allows us to meet a critical customer need where low size, weight and power requirements, as well as reliable position-keeping performance in GPS-denied environments, are critical», said Todd Leavitt, vice president, maritime systems, Northrop Grumman. «This new approach features eFOG technology, which allows us to maintain performance equivalent to our ring laser gyro-based systems, but in a much smaller footprint and at a reduced cost».

The system is designed using a modular system architecture and is comprised of an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and a separate Electronics Unit (EU) connected via a single cable. Its smaller coil size and denser IMU package allows for flexible installation in tight places.

Applications include guidance systems for unmanned underwater vehicles and unmanned surface vehicles, coastal and offshore patrol vessels, as well as small, medium and large surface vessels. SeaFIND is non ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) and available for use by domestic and international navies.

Operations center

Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered to the U.S. Army the first production-representative Engagement Operations Center (EOC) for the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS).

Northrop Grumman has delivered to the U.S. Army the first production-representative engagement operations center for the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS)
Northrop Grumman has delivered to the U.S. Army the first production-representative engagement operations center for the Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS)

«This milestone is testament of the significant progress toward operational capability that will make pivotal differences to warfighters, commanders and acquisition officials», said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. «We will be delivering more EOCs as well as IBCS Integrated Fire Control Network (IFCN) relays in the near future. These articles will be used for Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), which informs future production decisions».

The delivered IBCS EOC has completed all functional configuration audits for major configuration items and system verification review, and is representative of the production configuration for hardware and software that will undergo qualification testing before IOT&E. Northrop Grumman is on pace to deliver 11 EOCs and 18 IFCN relays for the IBCS program by the end of the year.

«Northrop Grumman will continue to closely collaborate with our customer and user communities to realize the groundbreaking vision of IBCS and its transformative impact on the air and missile defense mission», said Verwiel.

IBCS is a paradigm shift for IAMD by replacing legacy stove-piped systems with a next-generation, net-centric approach to better address an evolving array of threats. The system integrates disparate radars and weapons to construct a far more effective IAMD enterprise. IBCS delivers a single integrated air picture with unprecedented accuracy as well as broader surveillance and protection areas. With its truly open systems architecture, IBCS allows incorporation of current and future sensors and effectors and enables interoperability with joint C2 and the ballistic missile defense system.

IBCS is managed by the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

Australian Triton

Northrop Grumman Corporation welcomes the announcement last month by the Australian Government to purchase a second MQ-4C Triton aircraft. Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper identified the requirement for seven high altitude, long endurance Triton unmanned aircraft. Northrop Grumman will deliver the Triton through a cooperative program with the United States Navy.

Australia to purchase second Triton aircraft
Australia to purchase second Triton aircraft

«Northrop Grumman is excited to develop this unrivaled capability for the Royal Australian Air Force», said Doug Shaffer, vice president and program manager, Triton programs, Northrop Grumman. «MQ-4C Triton will provide the Australian Defence Force a high-altitude, long-endurance system for intelligence, reconnaissance and broad area surveillance missions to enhance the security of Australia’s borders».

Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne identified «people smuggling and the exploitation of our natural resources» as threats which Triton’s capabilities can help to address.

Minister for Defence Industry Linda Reynolds identified the opportunities this program will create for Australian industry and said that «there will be significant opportunity for Australian industry to share in billions of dollars of system maintenance and network management functions».

Northrop Grumman is committed to developing a sovereign defence capability for Australia through industrial partnership and participation, direct investment and technology transfer.

«We are proud of our partnership with the Australian Government and Australian industry, which we exemplified in the recent signing of the Australian Industry Capability Deed with the Minister for Defence Industry at the Avalon Airshow», said Chris Deeble, country executive, Northrop Grumman Australia. «To date we have partnered with several Australian entities to assist in the production and sustainment of the Triton unmanned aircraft system in Australia. Initiatives like this ensure local companies benefit from the investment in Australia’s security, and we take great pride in contributing to this».

 

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

 

Milestone C

The Northrop Grumman Corporation Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) pod for the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft has achieved Milestone C. This critical milestone, awarded by the Department of Defense Milestone Decision Authority, marks the end of the development and testing phase and enables the beginning of production and deployment.

Northrop Grumman’s laser-based LAIRCM infrared countermeasure packages advanced missile warning sensors, a pointer/tracker and processor into a pod that can be transferred between KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft for survivability (Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force)
Northrop Grumman’s laser-based LAIRCM infrared countermeasure packages advanced missile warning sensors, a pointer/tracker and processor into a pod that can be transferred between KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft for survivability (Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

The Generation 3 podded LAIRCM system, known previously as Guardian, is an infrared countermeasure system that detects, tracks and jams incoming missiles. It incorporates advanced missile warning sensors, a compact laser pointer/tracker and a processor in a single pod that can be readily transferred between aircraft to meet rapidly changing mission requirements. This mature system leverages Northrop Grumman’s decades-long countermeasures experience and requires no aircrew intervention. KC-135 Stratotanker aircrews can focus on their critical refueling, aeromedical evacuation and cargo missions while gaining the full survivability benefit the LAIRCM system provides.

To achieve Milestone C, Northrop Grumman worked closely with the KC-135 Stratotanker Program Office, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command to thoroughly test LAIRCM for KC-135 Stratotanker in the laboratory and the field.

«In this changing threat environment, the LAIRCM Generation 3 pod is ready to provide much-needed protection to KC-135 Stratotanker aircrews as they carry out their critical support missions», said Bob Gough, vice president, land and avionics Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman’s infrared countermeasure systems have been installed on more than 1,800 large and small fixed wing, rotary wing and tilt-rotor platforms of more than 80 types.

Undersea threats

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Biological Technology Office selected Northrop Grumman Corporation to prototype sensing capabilities using undersea organisms to assist in passively detecting and tracking undersea threats.

DARPAs Biological Technology Office Selects Northrop Grumman for Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors PALS Program
DARPAs Biological Technology Office Selects Northrop Grumman for Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors PALS Program

As part of the Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS) program, Northrop Grumman will develop biological sensing hardware that has increased sensitivity for certain sensor modalities, achieving greater range. Artificial intelligence will be applied to observe patterns in the marine environment to help classify targets. Northrop Grumman is partnered with Coda Octopus, Duke University, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Memphis.

«The detection, classification and tracking of undersea objects is a critical military capability and we are excited to work with DARPA to develop this next generation approach», said Mike Meaney, vice president, advanced missions, Northrop Grumman.

24 Hawkeyes

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a multi-year contract modification to deliver an additional 24 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft to the U.S. Navy. The fixed-price-incentive-firm contract is valued at $3.2 billion; the contract also includes an option for nine additional foreign military sales aircraft. Production of the 24 U.S. Navy aircraft funded by the five-year contract is expected to be complete in 2026.

Northrop Grumman awarded $3.2 billion for 24 E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes to provide advanced early warning capability to the U.S. Navy (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)
Northrop Grumman awarded $3.2 billion for 24 E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes to provide advanced early warning capability to the U.S. Navy (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

The E-2D is the U.S. Navy’s airborne early warning and command and control aircraft system. The carrier-based aircraft provides expanded battlespace awareness for carrier strike groups. Its two-generation leap in radar technology allows the E-2D to work with ship-, air- and land-based combat systems to track and defeat air, ship and cruise missiles at extended range. The aircraft can also be used in a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capacity for civilian emergency coordination.

«This aircraft continues to demonstrate its strategic value to our warfighters with early warning, command and control», said Jane Bishop, vice president and integrated product team leader, manned airborne surveillance programs, Northrop Grumman. «With this contract, we’ll continue production of these highly specialized aircraft while delivering innovative solutions that outpace advancing threats over the life of the fleet».

Under the current program of record Northrop Grumman has delivered 37 E-2D to the U.S. Navy to date, completing all major production milestones on time. In addition to the production and sustainment of the E-2D, Northrop Grumman will deliver a series of capability upgrades. The third upgrade is slated for release in fall 2019 and includes an aerial refueling capability to significantly extend the aircraft’s endurance.

 

General Characteristics

Wingspan 24.56 m/80 feet 7 in
Width, wings folded 8.94 m/29 feet 4 in
Length overall 17.60 m/57 feet 8.75 in
Height overall 5.58 m/18 feet 3.75 in
Diameter of rotodome 7.32 m/24 feet
Weight empty 19,536 kg/43,068 lbs
Internal fuel 5,624 kg/12,400 lbs
Takeoff gross weight 26,083 kg/57,500 lbs
Maximum level speed 648 km/h/350 knots/403 mph
Maximum cruise speed 602 km/h/325 knots/374 mph
Cruise speed 474 km/h/256 knots/295 mph
Approach speed 200 km/h/108 knots/124 mph
Service ceiling 10,576 m/34,700 feet
Minimum takeoff distance 410 m/1,346 feet ground roll
Minimum landing distance 537 m/1,764 feet ground roll
Ferry range 2,708 km/1,462 NM/1,683 miles
Crew Members 5
Power Plant 2 × Rolls-Royce T56-A-427A, rated at 5,100 eshp each
Unrefueled >6 hours
In-flight refueling 12 hours