WASHINGTON, Navy League Sea/Air/Space Exposition 2004, April 7, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) today announced its solution to the mission suite for the Aerial Common Sensor (ACS), the U.S. Army's and Navy's next-generation airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system. By using a modular, service-oriented approach, the Northrop Grumman Team's ACS solution will reduce program risk and total ownership cost by making substantial use of off-the-shelf components and mature subsystems.
Extensive commonality exists between the company's proposed Army and Navy ACS systems, both of which integrate into the Department of Defense's Joint ISR Enterprise. Numerous parallels exist throughout the respective solutions -- in the airborne system, the ground-based architecture, and the communications links. Northrop Grumman's ACS mission suite will provide the warfighter with instantaneous collection along with fusion, analysis, and dissemination of multi-intelligence (multi-INT) information.
At the heart of the system is the mission computing subsystem, which integrates data from the surrounding suite of wide-spectrum sensors. The dynamic, service-oriented architecture incorporates the next generation of Northrop Grumman's operational core multi-INT architecture, which is designed to accommodate emerging technologies and commercial standards in a service-oriented fashion.
"Our mission computing architecture, derived from over 10 years of fielded ground-based ISR, is compatible with the Army's and Navy's current and future Distributed Common Ground Systems," said William R. Adams, vice president at Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector and corporate lead for ACS. "And our modular design enables technology insertion into current Army and Navy ISR assets, facilitating seamless mixed-fleet operations with Guardrail, Airborne Reconnaissance Low, and EP-3."
The suite of sensors and other support elements surrounding the mission computing subsystem includes signals intelligence (communications/electronic intelligence); imagery intelligence (synthetic aperture radar/ground moving target indicator, electro-optical/infrared, hyperspectral imaging); self-protection equipment; and a communications subsystem. Each of these elements ties to the multi-INT computing subsystem with standard physical and logical interfaces, enabling upgrade of each subsystem without impacting the overall system.
The signals-intelligence subsystem is based heavily on off-the-shelf hardware and on an open communications-intelligence software architecture that utilizes BAE SYSTEMS' Diamond(tm) architecture. It also makes use of electronics-intelligence software designed by Northrop Grumman that comes directly from the Air Force's Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle high-band system.
Adams added, "Reusing mature Global Hawk software is an example of how we've capitalized on investments in currently funded and fielded programs from across the armed services. Leveraging these already proven systems and service investments is key to reducing risk and cost."
Northrop Grumman has selected the Gulfstream G450 as the system platform. This aircraft will operate at 45,000 feet without modification, allowing the sensors to "see" a 20 percent greater area than a platform operating at the threshold requirement of 37,000 feet. It will also provide a steeper lookdown over mountainous terrain or urban areas, reducing the effects of terrain masking on sensor performance. Its superior speed and operating altitude will provide three times the mission coverage afforded by the Navy's EP-3. The G450 will stay well above commercial airspace, allowing greater operational flexibility as well as enhancing survivability.
"The Gulfstream is the one airplane we evaluated that assures the success of the ACS mission," said Adams. "We also determined that it will be the least costly to own and maintain over the life of the program. Our extensive trade analysis confirmed the G450 as both an operational and system performance enabler."
The G450 will fly anywhere in the world on a single refueling and be "ready on arrival" to commence tactical ISR operations. Once in theater, it will self-sustain for 15 days.
"Our solution makes the ground/surface combat commander the real winner," said Adams. "It provides an unparalleled amount of information, tremendous communications capacity, a comfortable crew environment, and a flexible system that can be quickly tailored to a changing or redirected mission."
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With approximately 123,000 employees, and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.
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CONTACT: Doug Cantwell Northrop Grumman Corporation (410) 765-9332 (office) (410) 979-3647 (mobile)