Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

«Vanguard» radar

Northrop Grumman Corporation unveiled its «Vanguard» radar solution; a multi-function, open architecture system that can be easily scaled and applied to multiple missions and platforms.

Northrop Grumman’s Vanguard radar is a modular, scalable radar architecture that can meet a wide range of mission requirements and integrate into a variety of platforms across domains
Northrop Grumman’s Vanguard radar is a modular, scalable radar architecture that can meet a wide range of mission requirements and integrate into a variety of platforms across domains

«Our Vanguard solution redefines the way we produce radars and the capabilities possible within one flexible, scalable design», said Paul Kalafos, vice president, surveillance and electromagnetic maneuver warfare, Northrop Grumman. «Vanguard’s modular radar panels are a building block for a multitude of future radar aperture applications».

With its modular, panel-based structure, each radar panel represents a flexible building block that can be tailored to meet changing mission requirements. Each panel can act independently as its own radar, but can also be connected with the desired number of other radar panels to form one single, larger radar array. Each panel is also field replaceable, creating life-cycle cost savings and preventing long maintenance delays that prevent operation.

Large and small systems alike can use the same Vanguard radar building block, allowing for rapid, cost effective production and maximum system maturity.

Northrop Grumman has conducted more than 10 rigorous test flights and the Vanguard radar continues to exceed expectations and show exceptional stability, reliability and performance.

Crucial modes to the air-to-ground radar mission, including Ground Moving Target Indicator, Dismounted Moving Target Indicator, and Synthetic Aperture Radar mapping were executed successfully in Northrop Grumman’s first test flight of its solution in April 2017. Since that achievement, Vanguard has also shown the ability to rapidly adopt third party software and interface with the Open Mission Suite Battle Management Command and Control system.

Flight tests

Northrop Grumman Corporation recently began flight tests for MQ-8C Fire Scout aircraft produced in Moss Point at the Trent Lott International Airport, a major milestone for the company and the region’s aerospace economy.

Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8C Fire Scout takes off for its first flight out of Trent Lott International Airport in Moss Point, Mississippi
Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8C Fire Scout takes off for its first flight out of Trent Lott International Airport in Moss Point, Mississippi

Northrop Grumman’s Moss Point facility is key to producing and testing the MQ-8C Fire Scout, the U.S. Navy’s newest autonomous helicopter that is bringing increased speed, endurance and payload capacity to distributed maritime operations. The U.S. Navy recently completed initial operational test and evaluation aboard the USS Coronado (LCS-4) for the MQ-8C Fire Scout, which has over 1,500 program flight hours. The aircraft is a modified Bell 407 helicopter that is produced in Moss Point and supports quality manufacturing jobs in Mississippi.

«Building on Northrop Grumman’s recent announcement of new production capabilities in Moss Point and a 40 percent increase in employment at the site, the ability to now conduct MQ-8C Fire Scout flight tests where the production occurs will bring new efficiencies and effectiveness to our local operations and improve our ability to serve the U.S. Navy», said Melissa Packwood, program director, Fire Scout, Northrop Grumman.

In June, elected officials joined local employees to cut the ribbon on the new machine shop section that delivers important capabilities at Northrop Grumman’s Moss Point manufacturing center. For more than a decade, Gulf Coast employees have manufactured rotary and fixed wing autonomous systems in Moss Point that support the U.S. and its global allies. Recent facility upgrades have allowed for new work on manned aircraft to come to the site, diversifying the portfolio of work and bringing new jobs to the region.

In April 2004, Northrop Grumman broke ground in Moss Point with site construction beginning in 2005. In April 2006, Northrop Grumman contributed to aerospace industry growth in southern Mississippi when the ribbon was cut on the 101,000 square-foot facility. The company celebrated its 10-year anniversary at the site in 2016 and recently extended its lease adjacent to Trent Lott International Airport through 2026.

 

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)

 

Inertial Navigator

Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) phase of the U.S. Navy’s WSN-12 Inertial Sensor Module and will begin production of ten pre-production units.

The U.S. Navy WSN-12 Inertial Navigator will be used on the Virginia Submarines and on the Arleigh-Burke class destroyers, as well as a host of other ships (Image courtesy U.S. Navy)
The U.S. Navy WSN-12 Inertial Navigator will be used on the Virginia Submarines and on the Arleigh-Burke class destroyers, as well as a host of other ships (Image courtesy U.S. Navy)

The WSN-12 is poised to become the primary shipboard inertial navigation system for most U.S. combatant vessels and will be installed on all vessels of the DDG, CG, CVN and SSN classes. The system brings new technology and improved accuracy to these platforms. The Inertial Sensor Module is a primary subsystem of the WSN-12, and includes the inertial sensors, electromechanical equipment supporting them and software to compute the navigation solution. The shipboard inertial navigation system measures, computes and distributes navigation data to all users, including attitude, velocity and position information.

«Northrop Grumman has met or exceeded objectives in all aspects of the sensor design and was able to demonstrate performance in the testing of the engineering development models», said Captain Jon Garcia, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Integrated Warfare Systems 6.0 (IWS6.0). «We are looking forward to successful integration testing this year and receiving the sensor pre-production units next year».

«Completion of this CDR keeps this program on track to deliver exceptional navigation accuracy to the fleet», said Todd Leavitt, vice president, maritime systems, Northrop Grumman. «The WSN-12 Inertial Sensor Module provides technology that enables improvements to navigation accuracy and reliability, benefiting all systems that depend upon it».

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), space, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide.

Wireless Transmission

Northrop Grumman Corporation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have set a new standard for wireless transmission by operating a data link at 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) over a distance of 20 kilometers/12.4 miles in a city environment.

100G hardware will be flown aboard the Proteus demonstration aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman subsidiary Scaled Composites
100G hardware will be flown aboard the Proteus demonstration aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman subsidiary Scaled Composites

The two-way data link, which featured active pointing and tracking, was demonstrated January 19, 2018 in Los Angeles.

The blazing data rate is fast enough to download a 50 Gigabyte blue ray video in four seconds. The demonstration marked the successful completion of Northrop Grumman’s Phase 2 contract for DARPA’s 100 Gbps (100G) RF Backbone program.

The 100G system is capable of rate adaptation on a frame by frame basis from 9 Gbps to 102 Gbps to maximize data rate throughout dynamic channel variations. Extensive link characterization demonstrated short-term error-free performance from 9 to 91 Gbps, and a maximum data rate of 102 Gbps with 1 erroneous bit received per ten thousand bits transmitted.

The successful data link results from the integration of several key technologies. The link operates at millimeter wave frequencies (in this case, 71-76 gigahertz and 81-86 gigahertz) with 5 gigahertz of bandwidth, or data carrying capacity, and uses a bandwidth efficient signal modulation technique to transmit 25 Gbps data streams on each 5 gigahertz channel. To double the rate within the fixed bandwidth, the data link transmits dual orthogonally polarized signals from each antenna. Additionally, the link transmits from two antennas simultaneously (spatial multiplexing) and uses Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output (MIMO) signal processing techniques to separate the signals at two receiving antennas, thus again doubling the data rate within the fixed bandwidth.

According to Louis Christen, director, research and technology, Northrop Grumman, «This dramatic improvement in data transmission performance could significantly increase the volume of airborne sensor data that can be gathered and reduce the time needed to exploit sensor data».

«Next generation sensors such as hyperspectral imagers typically collect data faster, and in larger quantity than most air-to-ground data links can comfortably transmit», said Christen. «Without such a high data rate link data would need to be reviewed and analyzed after the aircraft lands».

By contrast, a 100G data link could transmit high-rate data directly from the aircraft to commanders on the ground in near real time, allowing them to respond more quickly to dynamic operations.

The successful 100G ground demonstration sets the stage for the flight test phase of the 100G RF Backbone program. This next phase, which started in June, demonstrates the 100G air-to-ground link up to 100 Gbps over a 100 km/62.1 miles range and extended ranges with lower data rates. The 100G hardware will be flown aboard the Proteus demonstration aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman subsidiary Scaled Composites.

Northrop Grumman’s 100G industry team includes Raytheon, which developed the millimeter wave antennas and related RF electronics and Silvus Technologies, which provides the key spatial multiplexing and MIMO signal processing technologies.

Northrop Grumman and DARPA 100 gigabits per second link demonstrated over 20 kilometer city environment on January 19, 2018 in Los Angeles
Northrop Grumman and DARPA 100 gigabits per second link demonstrated over 20 kilometer city environment on January 19, 2018 in Los Angeles

Hornet upgrade

Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully installed a production APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) on a U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18C Hornet at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.

At the request of the Marine Corps, Northrop Grumman successfully performed a fit check of a production APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) on a F/A-18C Hornet at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in California
At the request of the Marine Corps, Northrop Grumman successfully performed a fit check of a production APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) on a F/A-18C Hornet at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in California

The fit check, performed August 2 at the request of the Marine Corps, demonstrated APG-83 SABR is a low-risk option for installation on F/A-18C/D Hornets and that the radar can be integrated with the aircraft’s power, cooling and avionics systems.

«The Marine Corps asked for an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) solution due to the radar’s increase in reliability and sustainability with no decrease in operational performance», said Greg Simer, vice president, integrated avionics systems, Northrop Grumman. «The Marine Corps’ stated objective is to modify an in-production, fielded AESA while meeting the current size, weight, power and cooling requirements of the F/A-18 C/D. We have proven our production APG-83 SABR radar fits into the F/A-18 C/D, achieving the objectives and bringing the technical maturity needed to attain the Marine Corps fleet insertion timelines».

The APG-83 is a multifunction AESA fire control radar that delivers fifth-generation fighter capabilities to counter and defeat increasingly sophisticated threats.

Northrop Grumman is competing to replace the mechanically-scanned radar on F/A-18C/Ds with an AESA radar. The Marine Corps plans to upgrade the radar on approximately 100 F/A-18C/Ds. The APG-83 SABR will address survivability, reliability and maintainability concerns for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Design Review

Northrop Grumman Corporation supported Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) in their Final Critical Design Review (FCDR) for the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) Program.

The Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter. Rendering courtesy Eastern Shipbuilding Group
The Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutter. Rendering courtesy Eastern Shipbuilding Group

Northrop Grumman serves as ESG’s C4ISR and control systems integrator for OPC, with responsibilities that include the integrated bridge, navigation, command and control, computing network, data distribution, machinery control, and propulsion control system design and production.

«Northrop Grumman has been a trusted member of the ESG team since the inception of the OPC program», said Joey D’Isernia, president, ESG. «Their expertise in systems design and integration has contributed to ESG’s ongoing success in achieving the USCG’s requirements for the OPC platform».

The OPC will be the Coast Guard’s newest class of cutters, with 25 ships planned for the class. It will provide the majority of offshore presence by the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet, assisting in missions ranging from combating transnational organized criminal networks off Central America to patrolling in the increasingly accessible Arctic.

«Northrop Grumman’s C4ISR and control systems architecture for OPC is innovative, affordable and open», said Todd Leavitt, vice president, maritime systems, Northrop Grumman. «FCDR approval establishes a C4ISR/control systems design baseline that fulfills the newest generation of Coast Guard mission requirements, and is easily scalable for future platforms».

FCDR was held on June 27-28, with OPC Production Readiness Review to follow later this year. Northrop Grumman will operate the OPC Test and Integration Facility for C4ISR, and the Land-Based Test Facility for control systems, at their facility in Charlottesville.

Desired stable orbit

Northrop Grumman Corporation announced that NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has successfully reached its desired stable orbit and begun science operations. The spacecraft was built and operated by Northrop Grumman. The TESS spacecraft instrument is the set of four wide-field cameras designed and built by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and MIT Lincoln Lab. The principal goal of the TESS mission is to use its four wide-field cameras to detect planets around bright host stars in the solar neighborhood so that detailed characterizations of the planets and their atmospheres can be performed through follow-up observations from telescopes on Earth and in space. As the first-ever satellite to perform an exoplanet survey of nearly the entire sky, TESS will identify planets ranging from Earth-sized to Jupiter-sized, orbiting a wide range of stellar types at various orbital distances.

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) was designed, manufactured and tested by Northrop Grumman in the company’s Dulles, Virginia, satellite manufacturing facility. The company is also responsible for handling mission operations for the observatory
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) was designed, manufactured and tested by Northrop Grumman in the company’s Dulles, Virginia, satellite manufacturing facility. The company is also responsible for handling mission operations for the observatory

The TESS spacecraft was designed, manufactured and tested by Northrop Grumman at the company’s satellite manufacturing facility in Dulles. The company is also responsible for handling mission operations for the observatory. TESS was launched April 18, 2018, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. After launch, the observatory went through a series of tests and began preparation for a series of in-space maneuvers, including a lunar gravity assist, to reach its targeted highly-elliptical orbit. This lunar flyby was executed May 17 and the final period-adjustment maneuver was performed May 29.

«The TESS observatory is in excellent condition after completing the journey to its final orbit», said Steve Krein, vice president, science and environmental satellite programs, Northrop Grumman. «TESS is another example of our ability to deliver successful scientific space missions that shape our knowledge of the known universe. We are proud to provide critical mission operations for TESS as it continues a historic journey to identify new planets outside our solar system».

The four TESS cameras developed by MIT project partners are integrated with Northrop Grumman’s LEOStar-2 bus, a flight-proven and flexible satellite platform that accommodates a wide variety of missions. The company has several other satellites in production for upcoming NASA missions including the Earth science ICESat-2 and Landsat-9 satellites and the JPSS-2, -3 and -4 weather spacecraft which use the larger LEOStar-3 bus, as well as the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) LEOStar-2 satellite to be launched later this year.

TESS is a NASA astrophysics explorer mission led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Dr. George Ricker of MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research serves as principal investigator for the mission. Additional partners besides Northrop Grumman include NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley; the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts; MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts; and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. More than a dozen universities, research institutes and observatories worldwide are participants in the mission.

Initial production

Northrop Grumman Corporation has delivered the first AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) that incorporates advanced high power and high efficiency Gallium Nitride (GaN) antenna technology, further improving the system’s operational capabilities. This system was delivered ahead of schedule and is the seventh G/ATOR system delivered in the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phase of the program.

Four G/ATOR systems preparing for fielding located at Northrop Grumman’s Stoney Run test range in Baltimore, Maryland
Four G/ATOR systems preparing for fielding located at Northrop Grumman’s Stoney Run test range in Baltimore, Maryland

GaN technology provides cost savings and multiple performance benefits including enhanced system sensitivity and increased reliability. All subsequent G/ATOR LRIP and full rate production systems will now incorporate this advanced GaN technology.

Delivery of the first GaN G/ATOR system follows the delivery of six LRIP systems to the Marines that began in early 2017. Utilizing two of those six systems, the Marine Corps achieved G/ATOR Initial Operational Capability (IOC) of the air surveillance mission in February of this year. The remaining four systems will establish IOC for the counter-battery mission later this year. As a result, G/ATOR systems, trained Marines and associated logistics support are now in operational service with Marines.

«The Marine Corps are the first to take delivery of a production ground based multi mission AESA radar that incorporates this advanced GaN technology», said Roshan Roeder, vice president, land & avionics Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) division, Northrop Grumman. «The incorporation of this advanced technology in production radars is unique to the Marine Corps and enables G/ATOR to provide additional mission capability to the warfighter at an affordable cost».

Both the Marine Corps and Northrop Grumman continue to make detailed preparations to successfully execute the full rate production program, which is scheduled to begin in early 2019.

Additionally, given the AN/TPS-80’s open architecture design, Northrop Grumman was awarded a contract through the Office of Secretary of Defense Strategic Capabilities Office in 2016 to support the addition of a fire control mission.

The AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR is an advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) multi-mission radar that provides comprehensive real time, 360-degree situational awareness against a broad array of threats including fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, Unmanned Autonomous Systems (UAS), and rockets, artillery and mortar. It is rapidly deployable worldwide to meet United State Marine Corps (USMC) needs and includes the latest cyber and digital beam forming technology that enables the radar to perform multi-mission tasks at significantly lower operation and maintenance costs compared to existing USMC radar systems.

BACN-Equipped EQ-4B

Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman Corporation delivered a Global Hawk autonomous aircraft carrying the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) to the U.S. Air Force fleet. BACN – also developed by Northrop Grumman – is a high-altitude, airborne gateway that translates and distributes voice communications, and other battlespace information from numerous sources.

The Northrop Grumman EQ-4B Global Hawk autonomous aircraft on its first flight after being converted to carry the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) on February 16, 2018. The successful first flight over Southern California led to the delivery of the aircraft to the U.S. Air Force
The Northrop Grumman EQ-4B Global Hawk autonomous aircraft on its first flight after being converted to carry the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) on February 16, 2018. The successful first flight over Southern California led to the delivery of the aircraft to the U.S. Air Force

BACN bridges the gaps between those systems and extends communications among disparate users and networks to provide improved situational awareness.

BACN has completed more than 10,000 combat missions connecting warfighters in the air and on the ground.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide.

 

Specifications

Wingspan 130.9 feet/39.9 m
Length 47.6 feet/14.5 m
Height 15.4 feet/4.7 m
Gross Take-Off Weight (GTOW) 32,250 lbs./14,628 kg
Power Plant Rolls-Royce AE3007H turbofan engine
Thrust 8,290 lbs./36.8 kN/3,752.5 kgf
Maximum Altitude 60,000 feet/18.3 km
Payload 3,000 lbs./1,360 kg
Loiter Velocity 310 knots TAS/357 mph/574 km/h
Ferry Range 12,300 NM/14,155 miles/22,780 km
On-Station Endurance Exceeds 24 hours
Maximum Endurance 30 hours

 

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.