Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

Training Center

Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Distributed Training Center (DTC) recently hosted simulated training for the U.S. Marine Corps at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia.

An ANGLICO team operates from a rooftop during the Iraq War (Photo credit: USMC Corporal Rocco DeFilippis Courtesy: United States Marine Corps)
An ANGLICO team operates from a rooftop during the Iraq War (Photo credit: USMC Corporal Rocco DeFilippis Courtesy: United States Marine Corps)

During two training events, eight F-15E aircrew based at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho trained with four Marines from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state via the DTC. The Marines, trained as Joint Tactical Air Controller/Joint Forward Observers (JTAC/JFO), are part of the 6th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) tasked with calling-in air strikes and artillery fire in support of their attached formation. ANGLICO JTACs support Special Operations Forces and typically deploy to the battlefield in small teams.

Each mission scenario was designed, created and supported by Northrop Grumman DTC engineers based on mission demands. The multi-service Close Air Support (CAS) training closely replicated scenarios in current battle zones where warfighters are deployed, while at the same time providing virtual and constructive training at a fraction of the cost of live training.

«The Marines were impressed with the high fidelity training and said the customized scenarios felt like real life», said Martin Amen, director, secure network operations, Northrop Grumman.

The simulation training event met the following desired learning objectives provided by the participants:

  • (JTAC) Joint CAS environment – more than one service involved;
  • (JTAC) Integrated air and surface fires;
  • (JTAC) Deconflict multiple air assets – training included four virtual F-15Es and one constructive MQ-9 Reaper;
  • (F-15E) 25 mph+ moving target – fighter tracks and engages a target going more than 25 mph;
  • (F-15E) Hot gun to target artillery deconfliction – ensuring aircraft flight paths are not in conflict with the flight path of artillery rounds being fired at targets in the same vicinity;
  • (F15E) Squirters from a strike – track and target enemy fighters who survive the initial strike;
  • (F-15E) Bomb-on-coordinate targets utilizing different weapons – using varying classes of GPS-aided bombs to hit the right targets;
  • (F15E) CAS stack deconfliction – airspace management with the added value of matching aircraft to targets.

The DTC has provided live, virtual and constructive training for the U.S. Air Force for nine years, but this was the first time Marines used the DTC to train for their missions. Last year, the Army Rangers utilized the DTC for the first time to train for deployment.

Developed for Air Force simulation training in 1999, Northrop Grumman’s Distributed Mission Operations Network (DMON) provides the connectivity and network interoperability for the DTC, which became operational in 2010 to meet the need for real-world scenario development and advanced warfighter readiness training. Northrop Grumman wants to expand the use of the DMON and DTC beyond the Air Force to additional services such as the Marine Corps, the U.S. Army and international forces.

Air-launched missile

Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a $322.5 million contract from the U.S. Navy for the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) program.

Northrop Grumman received a contract from the U.S. Navy, valued at $322.5M, for Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD)
Northrop Grumman received a contract from the U.S. Navy, valued at $322.5M, for Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD)

The AARGM-ER program is leveraging the AARGM that is currently in production. The AARGM-ER will be integrated on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft and configured for internal carriage on the F-35 Lightning II.

«AARGM-ER extended range coupled with AARGM lethality will meet a critical defense suppression requirement while protecting our strike aviators», said Cary Ralston, vice president, defense electronic systems, Northrop Grumman.

AARGM is an air-launched missile with the capability to rapidly engage air-defense threats. AARGM is currently deployed with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps on the F/A-18C/D Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft. AARGM is also integrated on the Italian Air Force’s Tornado Electronic Combat aircraft.

Active Protection

Lockheed Martin and industry partners supported U.S. Army integration of three countermeasures and a cueing sensor into the Modular Active Protection Systems (MAPS) framework for a six-week «rodeo» conducted at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

MAPS-enabled countermeasures integrated by Lockheed Martin defeat threats in U.S. Army field tests (city road viaduct streetscape of night scene in Shanghai)
MAPS-enabled countermeasures integrated by Lockheed Martin defeat threats in U.S. Army field tests (city road viaduct streetscape of night scene in Shanghai)

In a series of live-fire tests, the MAPS-enabled systems defeated 15 out of 15 anti-tank guided missiles by jamming their signals, causing them to fly off-target.

«The success of the Army’s testing shows the effectiveness of an active protection system that can rapidly refresh with new components to meet specific mission and platform requirements», said Michael Williamson, vice president of Sensors & Global Sustainment at Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin engineers led hardware and software integration of an Ariel Photonics countermeasure into the MAPS framework ahead of the tests. They also supported U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center efforts with BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman in integrating two other countermeasures and a cueing sensor.

Lockheed Martin was awarded the initial MAPS prototype controller contract in 2014 and continues to manufacture and deliver base kits to MAPS stakeholders. The base kit consists of a controller, user interface, power management distribution system, network switch and application software. It provides processing power to MAPS-enabled sensors and countermeasures and directs them in defeating incoming missiles and rockets.

The base kit supports the rapid integration of MAPS framework-compliant sensors and countermeasures to detect and defeat threats targeting MAPS-equipped vehicles. It is designed to protect current combat vehicles, as well as support future vehicle protection system capabilities.

500th center fuselage

On February 21, 2019, Northrop Grumman Corporation has completed the 500th center fuselage for the F-35 Lightning II – ahead of schedule.

An F-35 technician performs a skin assembly process with work instructions projected on the structure as one of the innovative solutions for high rate military aircraft production. A core structure of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft, the center fuselage is produced on Northrop Grumman's integrated assembly line at its Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence
An F-35 technician performs a skin assembly process with work instructions projected on the structure as one of the innovative solutions for high rate military aircraft production. A core structure of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft, the center fuselage is produced on Northrop Grumman’s integrated assembly line at its Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence

«We deliver an F-35 center fuselage every 36 hours and I am very proud to say we have made all our deliveries since the inception of the program», said Frank Carus, vice president and F-35 Lightning II program manager, Northrop Grumman. «Our dedicated team works closely with the customer and suppliers to improve quality and affordability in support of the warfighter».

Designated AU-18, the 500th F-35 Lightning II center fuselage is for a conventional takeoff and landing variant for the Royal Australian Air Force. Northrop Grumman began production on the AU-18 center fuselage in June 2018 and completed work on February 21. Northrop Grumman has been producing center fuselages for all three F-35 Lightning II variants since May 2004.

«We have set the standard for the production of military aircraft», said Kevin Mickey, sector vice president and general manager, military aircraft systems, Northrop Grumman. «Our teams and suppliers are constantly finding better, more affordable ways to deliver a superior product on-time, at-cost and, as with this center fuselage, ahead of schedule. When you couple this level of commitment with advanced manufacturing technologies, it’s just a win-win situation for us, our customer and the warfighter».

A core structure of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft, the center fuselage is designed and produced on Northrop Grumman’s integrated assembly line, 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.

Lockheed Martin is the industry lead for the F-35 Lightning II program and Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernization, sustainment and production of the F-35 Lightning II. In addition to producing the 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.

Navigation System

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a $59 million contract for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS)/Inertial Navigation System (INS)-Modernization, or EGI-M, technology.

The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is one of the lead platforms selected for EGI-M integration (U.S. Navy photo)
The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is one of the lead platforms selected for EGI-M integration (U.S. Navy photo)

The approval to proceed to the EMD phase follows the Department of Defense’s Milestone B approval in October 2018. During the EMD phase, Northrop Grumman will develop the critical hardware and software design for the EGI-M, build hardware for integration and qualification, generate safety and civil certification documentation, qualify the new EGI-M systems to rigorous military standards, and build production units for platform testing.

Based upon modular and truly open systems architecture, the EGI-M system will support the rapid insertion of new capabilities and adaptability based on unique platform requirements. Additionally, the modernized navigation system will incorporate new generation GPS receivers, which will be capable to securely and accurately transmit the new military signals for space (M-Code). The EGI-M will be integrated into multiple platforms across all of the services and exportable versions will be developed for international customers. The lead platforms for EGI-M are F-22 Raptor and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye.

«This EMD award brings us an important step closer to fielding a modernized navigation system that provides accurate positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) information, even when GPS is denied», said Dean Ebert, vice president, navigation and positioning systems, Northrop Grumman. «Northrop Grumman is dedicated to ensuring the safety and mission success of our warfighters by providing a resilient assured PNT solution that will allow service members to fly, fight and win in any environment».

EGI-M technology is designed for compatibility with current systems on legacy aircraft, allowing ease of integration and rapid adoption of new capabilities. EGI-M will also comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen air traffic control requirements that aircraft flying at higher altitudes be equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS‑B) Out by January 2020. ADS-B Out transmits information about an aircraft’s altitude, speed and location to ground stations and to other equipped aircraft in the vicinity.

Webb Space Telescope

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Spacecraft Element (SCE) successfully completed acoustic and sine vibration testing at Northrop Grumman Corporation in Redondo Beach.

Both halves of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope are housed in Northrop Grumman’s cleanroom as they undergo ongoing testing and integration efforts
Both halves of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope are housed in Northrop Grumman’s cleanroom as they undergo ongoing testing and integration efforts

Acoustic and sine vibration testing validates the structural design and verifies the mechanical workmanship and integrity of the actual flight SCE by subjecting it to simulated rigors of the launch environment.

«Mission success remains our focus for Webb, a first of its kind space telescope», said Scott Willoughby, vice president and program manager, James Webb Space Telescope, Northrop Grumman. «Successful environmental testing of the SCE builds further confidence in its structural design integrity, built to withstand the stresses of launch».

The SCE was subjected to acoustic noise levels of 140.7 decibels (damage to hearing starts at 85dB while speakers at a concert can be as loud as 120dB or more), which simulated the high noise levels generated from rocket engines and turbulent air flow at high Mach speeds during launch. Vibration testing simulates the vibration and shaking Webb will experience during launch. During testing, the SCE was attached to a large electrodynamic shaker, vibrating it along three orthogonal axes. This back-and-forth or «sinusoidal» vibration was applied by starting at a low, subsonic frequency of 5 hertz (cycles per second) and «sweeping» up to a medium frequency of 100 hertz in the course of just over one minute. Ultimately, the SCE was subjected to protoflight vibration levels required to simulate a rocket launch experience. Testing on the ground assures that Webb can successfully withstand the rigors of its journey to space.

The completion of acoustic and sine vibration testing advances Webb’s SCE to its final environmental test, thermal vacuum testing. Post thermal vacuum testing, Webb will return to Northrop’s clean room for full deployment and integration of the Optical Telescope Element/Integrated Science Instrument Module later this year.

The James Webb Space Telescope will be the world’s premier space science observatory of the next decade. Webb will solve mysteries of 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.

Mine Hunting System

Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully completed the development of the AQS-24C and delivered the first two systems to the U.S. Navy. The AQS-24C upgrade adds an in-stride volume search capability to the AQS-24B.

3 MH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and personnel after the successful AQS-24C trials held in Panama City, Florida (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)
3 MH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and personnel after the successful AQS-24C trials held in Panama City, Florida (Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy)

The AQS-24C builds on the AQS-24B that was introduced to the fleet in 2017, which has continued to excel in naval operations from both the MH-53E Super Stallion helicopter and the Mine Hunting Unit Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MHU USV) platforms. The newly developed AQS-24C systems recently completed shipboard contractor testing and government helicopter testing on the MH-53E Super Stallion platform. Achieving this development milestone has resulted in the start of production to meet the fleet generated requirement for increased mine hunting capability.

«The AQS-24C is a cost-effective upgrade to an existing system, providing long range volume search mine hunting while minimizing development costs and providing great value to the U.S. Navy customer», said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems, Northrop Grumman. «This new capability will keep sailors out of harm’s way and shorten the mine clearance timeline».

Northrop Grumman is concurrently executing a separate contract for integration of the AQS-24 onto the U.S. Navy’s MHU USV, which will be evaluated for operational use from U.S. Navy surface platforms.

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.

Electronic Warfare

Northrop Grumman Corporation has received authorization to proceed with Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 3 systems following a successful Milestone C decision for the SEWIP Block 3 AN/SLQ-32(V)7 program.

Northrop Grumman has continued to invest in advanced capabilities in Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare (EMW). With the U.S. Navy elevating the electromagnetic spectrum as a warfighting domain, SEWIP Block 3 is the cornerstone capability that will meet the urgent operational needs of the Fleet
Northrop Grumman has continued to invest in advanced capabilities in Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare (EMW). With the U.S. Navy elevating the electromagnetic spectrum as a warfighting domain, SEWIP Block 3 is the cornerstone capability that will meet the urgent operational needs of the Fleet

Milestone C is a government led review to assess a program’s performance and readiness to enter the production and deployment phase. The successful Milestone C decision for SEWIP Block 3 recognizes the accomplishments of the Northrop Grumman and U.S. Navy team in demonstrating the capability of this groundbreaking Electronic Warfare (EW) capability.

«Milestone C approval and the start of LRIP are significant milestones for the SEWIP Block 3 program», said Captain Seiko Okano, the Navy’s Major Program Manager of Above Water Sensors. «SEWIP Block 3 is a critical capability that the Fleet needed yesterday to pace the evolving anti-ship cruise missile threat. We must continue to push to deliver this critical electronic warfare improvement to the Fleet on schedule and cost».

SEWIP Block 3 is the third in a series of block upgrades of the AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare system which provides Electronic Attack (EA) capability improvements required to pace the evolving anti-ship missile threat. Northrop Grumman has provided electronic warfare expertise to the legacy AN/SLQ-32 EW system for over four decades. With the U.S. Navy elevating the electromagnetic spectrum as a warfighting domain, SEWIP Block 3 is a cornerstone capability that will meet the urgent operational needs of the U.S. Navy in that domain. SEWIP Block 3 provides game changing improved capability for non-kinetic electronic attack options.

«I am very proud of the entire team in achieving this significant engineering milestone despite the complexities of pursuing such a demanding technological goal», said Ingrid Vaughan, vice president and general manager, navigation & maritime systems division, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. «The relentless commitment of the U.S. Navy Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) and Northrop Grumman team in developing this revolutionary electronic attack capability will dramatically assist our Fleet in pacing 21st century threats».

Indefinite quantity

Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a $3.6 billion Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) award for Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (LAIRCM) systems and support from the U.S. Air Force. Under the IDIQ, the Air Force may issue task or delivery order awards up to the ceiling amount specified in the contract. Work under the contract is set to conclude in 2025. The initial task order is $2.4 million for logistics support services.

Northrop Grumman has been selected to provide infrared countermeasure systems under a $3.6 billion IDIQ award from the U.S. Air Force
Northrop Grumman has been selected to provide infrared countermeasure systems under a $3.6 billion IDIQ award from the U.S. Air Force

Northrop Grumman’s LAIRCM system protects aircrews by detecting, tracking and jamming incoming infrared threats without the need for user intervention.

«This new IDIQ award extends Northrop Grumman’s multi-decade support of successful aircrew protection provided by our infrared countermeasure systems, and demonstrates our customer’s confidence in LAIRCM’s ability to address the rapidly changing threat environment», said Bob Gough, vice president, land and avionics Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) division, Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman infrared countermeasures are enabling missions worldwide, having been installed on more than 1,800 aircraft of more than 80 types worldwide.

Training Capability

Northrop Grumman Corporation has received a $450 million, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract award to deliver Joint Threat Emitter (JTE) systems to the United States Air Force. The JTE offers realistic warfighter training and provides a modern, reactive battlespace environment that trains military personnel to identify and counter enemy missile and artillery threats.

The Joint Threat Emitter provides a modern, reactive battlespace war environment, designed to help train military personnel to identify and effectively counter enemy missile or artillery threats
The Joint Threat Emitter provides a modern, reactive battlespace war environment, designed to help train military personnel to identify and effectively counter enemy missile or artillery threats

Awarded by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the JTE Enhanced Delivery Initiative contract includes threat emitter units, mobile and fixed command and control units as well as spares, support equipment, testing and training.

JTE is a robust and 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.

«Our Joint Threat Emitter systems enable aircrews to train in environments that match actual combat situations. These training systems are critical in preparing members of the military to respond to threats», said Rob Fleming, vice president, land and avionics C4ISR, Northrop Grumman.

The JTE Enhanced Delivery Initiative includes foreign military sales to U.S. partner countries through the U.S. Air Force. 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 28 systems so far fielded both domestically and internationally.

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