BETHPAGE, N.Y., April 8, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has developed new communication capabilities that could deliver near real-time mission and survivability information from off-board sensors to EA-6B Prowler crews. This critical information is currently not available to the crews in this format or with this precision and speed.
To demonstrate the concepts, the company funded tests from March 10-12 using a Tactical Exploitation System-Army (TES-A) installed in a U.S. Navy EA-6B Prowler electronic attack aircraft. The tests involved the receipt of off-board report data by a surrogate TES common ground station sending node located in Baltimore, Md. The data was processed by TES and sent via a secure communications link directly to the cockpit of an EA-6B aircraft located at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. No modifications were necessary to the TES common software baseline to accomplish this effort, which featured the use of commercial-off-the-shelf and government-off-the-shelf hardware and software.
TES-A was developed by the company's Electronic Systems sector. The Navy's EA-6B Prowlers are a product of the company's Integrated Systems sector. Since the U.S. Department of Defense retired the U.S. Air Force EF-111 fleet in 1998, the Navy's EA-6B has been the one and only electronic attack asset for the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.
"If this system were to be installed in Prowlers, they could then tap the TES network to help them pinpoint ground-based radar and surface-to-air missile emitters precisely, and to share their wealth of information with other nodes in the network," said Patricia McMahon, vice president and Electronic Warfare Integrated Product Team leader for Northrop Grumman's Airborne Early Warning and Electronic Warfare Systems a business unit. "Based on the results of our test, we believe that the integration of the combat-proven TES into the Prowler system could satisfy the Navy's requirement for improved situational awareness and would inject the Prowler into the Navy's FORCEnet architecture. More importantly, we could build and expand on this TES application as we transition to the Improved Capability (ICAP) III electronic attack system for Prowlers and, later, for the EA-18G."
"This is the first time that TES has been utilized in a tactical jet aircraft, complementing previous successful demonstrations of TES under the sea and on the ground," said Kenneth E. Wilson, vice president of Northrop Grumman's C4ISRT Networked Systems business unit. "The powerful battlefield and battlespace information management capabilities available through TES enable the timely processing and sharing of essential data with the warfighter to help ensure mission success."
TES processes sensor data into recognizable target packages and their coordinates and is usable by any number of deployable sea, air and land platforms. TES processes, correlates and overlays data from multiple sensors (e.g., signals intelligence, and imagery from synthetic aperture radars and optical/infrared systems), then generates targeting parameters for near real-time dissemination to combat platforms. TES can create synthesized displays that enable the warfighter to make sense, on one screen, of information from a wide range of sources. Utilizing the Prowler's own satellite communications capability, this high demand system could be integrated with all the services' Distributed Common Ground Systems.
Northrop Grumman engineers from Bethpage, N.Y., and Baltimore worked together to integrate the TES capability with the Prowler. For the aircraft, the team also developed hardware, in many cases utilizing commercial-off-the-shelf hardware, which included the most current radios, antennas and cockpit-portable displays.
Two Prowler squadrons, VAQ-138 "Yellow Jackets" and the VAQ-131 "Lancers," based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., conducted this first set of required communication testing. With successful completion of this phase of testing, the team plans to work with the Navy and conduct flight-testing in a fleet battle experiment this year. For that full-scale exercise, TES will be installed in an ICAP III or Block 89A configuration Prowler.
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration enterprise. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems for 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.
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, based in Baltimore, is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defense and commercial electronic systems including airborne radar, navigation systems, electronic countermeasures, precision weapons, airspace management systems, communications systems, space sensors, marine and naval systems, government systems and logistics services.
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