CHINA LAKE, Calif., Oct. 9, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- A Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) team successfully demonstrated the ability to precisely engage moving surface targets with seekerless weapons at the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) Weapons Division here recently.
The team used a modified Raytheon Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) and two Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) to hit targets on the range. The tests were conducted under an Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) Affordable Moving Surface Target Engagement (AMSTE) contract sponsored by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and managed by the AFRL.
On Sept. 30, two JDAM weapons simultaneously targeted the second and third vehicles within a five-vehicle convoy on the U.S. Navy's desert test range. Both weapons landed well within their effective circular error of probability. The JDAMs, consisting of a production tail kit slightly modified to add a Raytheon UHF anti-jam data link coupled to an inert Mk-84 (2000-pound) bomb, were launched at 20,000 feet from an F-14D. The weapons were in flight for less than a minute as they traveled approximately six miles to the target.
Later in the day, a JSOW, launched from an F/A-18D flying at 30,000 feet and approximately 35 miles from the target, scored a direct hit on a remotely controlled M-60 battle tank as it maneuvered on the high desert test range. The weapon was in flight for more than five minutes.
For both tests, an E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) provided the precision, real-time target location and velocity data using bi-laterated ground moving target indicator (GMTI) data from its radar and a fourth-generation AESA F-35 prototype radar in a Global Hawk Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program role and flown aboard a Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems BAC 1-11 test bed aircraft. A Link-16 Weapon Data Terminal relayed the real-time targeting data to the JSOW and a UHF anti-jam link was used for the JDAM. The engagements were successfully completed while the targeting platforms remained well outside the range of most surface-based air defenses and were unaffected by weather conditions in the target area.
AMSTE, a DARPA program, is developing a network centric targeting approach that will couple standoff airborne radar sensors and low-cost weapons in an all-weather, real-time engagement network. Under the AMSTE approach, data from multiple GMTI radar sensors are fused to provide affordable, seekerless weapons with real-time target position updates while in-flight. AMSTE will provide a tactically significant and low-cost capability to engage moving surface threats from standoff ranges, in all weather, using slightly modified precision-guided munitions -- an unprecedented capability for the warfighter.
"Our government-industry AMSTE team continues its excellent achievement record of proving this system of systems concept works," said Scott Seymour, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president of the company's Integrated Systems sector. "This technology denies enemies the ability to move troops and equipment undetected under the cover of darkness and in bad weather. We've known for more than 10 years that the Joint STARS system can detect and track moving targets. Now we know this system of systems network can be further applied to guide existing low-cost weapons to moving targets anytime and in all weather conditions."
Seymour continued, "These tests demonstrate the type of effects that can be generated by integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and strike capabilities envisioned in the Air Force's Multi-Sensor Command and Control Constellation concept."
"This was a series of firsts for JSOW," said Bill McCall, Northrop Grumman senior program manager. "It was the first time any Link-16-equipped weapon prosecuted a moving target with precision from stand-off ranges. This, coupled to the close-in capability demonstrated with JDAM, will provide the Air Force and Navy a significant capability to kill moving targets in a variety of threat environments."
AMSTE is in the second year of a three-year DARPA developmental effort. This JSOW launch was the final weapon launch for year two. Five weapons have been tested during the two years of the program and all have either directly impacted the target or hit well within DARPA's stated requirements.
Additional AMSTE tests are scheduled for later this year when the team will attempt more complex target-tracking scenarios. These flight experiments intend to assess the ability of feature-aided tracking tools to support long-term track maintenance of high-value targets through the targeting cycle.
The AMSTE program is funded by DARPA and managed by DARPA and AFRL, Rome, N.Y. Development of the AMSTE demonstration system is being led by Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, Melbourne, Fla., with JSOW weapon support from Raytheon's Tucson, Ariz., facility and its Link-16 supplier, ViaSAT, San Diego, Calif. Boeing Phantom Works, St. Louis, Mo., provided the JDAM weapon support. Raytheon of Fullerton, Calif., supplied UHF data link equipment and support. The AMSTE team also includes Alphatec, Burlington, Mass.; Neural Computing, Irvine, Calif.; and Orincon, San Diego. The government portion of the team lead by DARPA and AFRL included MTSI, Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., for test range coordination; SAIC, Washington, D.C., for test support; MIT Lincoln Laboratories, Bedford, Mass., for technical support; MITRE, Bedford, Mass., for technical support; NAWC China Lake; Navy PMA-201, Patuxent River, Md.; VX30, Point Mugu, Calif.; VX31 China Lake; Eglin Air Force Base Test Range, Fla., and 46th Test Wing at Eglin; Joint STARS Joint Program Office, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.; and the Edwards Air Force Base Test Range, Calif.
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. Integrated Systems has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management, early warning, airborne electronic warfare and air combat aircraft. It is also integrating these capabilities for emerging network-centric warfare concepts.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is an $18 billion, global defense company with its worldwide headquarters in Los Angeles. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in defense and commercial electronics, systems integration, information technology and nuclear and non-nuclear shipbuilding and systems. With nearly 100,000 employees and operations in 44 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.
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