SAN DIEGO, Jan. 20, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has begun acceptance testing the first of four new workstations that will allow it to reduce the time and cost to develop operational flight software for the Department of Defense's Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) program.
The testing, which began in mid December, marks the beginning of operations for a systems integration laboratory the company opened in October at its San Diego facility to support work on its X-47B J-UCAS program. The company expects to install the remaining three workstations in the facility by March 2005.
These new workstations include an X-47B vehicle management computer (VMC), a six-degree of freedom simulation, and all of the input/output and test equipment needed to produce flight-ready software. Smiths Aerospace of Grand Rapids, Mich. produced the VMCs.
"The Systems Integration Laboratory (SIL) is an integral risk reduction tool for our J-UCAS program," said Rick Ludwig, Northrop Grumman's J-UCAS business development manager. "It allows us to test 95 percent of the system as if it were flying in a real aircraft. Knowing that a given subsystem has 'flown' successfully in the SIL gives us great confidence that when it flies in a real air vehicle its performance will be very close to what we predicted."
The J-UCAS program was established in the fall of 2003 to demonstrate the technical feasibility, military utility and operational value of developing a network of high performance and weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles. These air vehicles will conduct a variety of 21st century combat missions for both the U.S. Air Force and Navy including precision targeting and strike; persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defenses; and electronic attack.
Northrop Grumman's efforts to design, develop and produce an unmanned combat air system that satisfies the operational requirements of both services is managed by the company's Integrated Systems sector. Its J-UCAS concept builds on the company's extensive experience with autonomous flight control, including thousands of flight hours by its combat-proven RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance system, the RQ-8 Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned system, and the RQ-5 Hunter system.
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use on networks. For its government and civil customers worldwide, Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.
CONTACT: Cynthia Curiel Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (858) 618-4355 firstname.lastname@example.org