WASHINGTON, D.C., April 7, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) EA-6B Improved Capability (ICAP) III Airborne Electronic Attack weapon system has been approved to begin its final and most rigorous testing. Having successfully completed the U.S. Navy's developmental technical evaluation (TECHEVAL), ICAP III is now ready to begin operational evaluation (OPEVAL), the final hurdle before a full-production approval.
During OPEVAL the Navy will take the two EA-6B ICAP III Prowler test aircraft and operate them under normal deployment conditions. Though instrumented and closely monitored, the aircraft will be maintained and flown exactly like all aircraft on a carrier. The Navy will measure ICAP III system performance, the reliability and maintainability of its components and other criteria defined for system development and demonstration. After the system passes OPEVAL, the Department of Defense will move to approve it for full-rate production.
ICAP III has been in low-rate initial production since mid-2003. The Navy will receive the first ICAP III EA-6B aircraft in early 2005. Operational Test Squadron VX-9, based at the U.S. Navy's Naval Air Warfare Center (NAVAIR) Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., will perform the OPEVAL. The complete operational test will take approximately five months to conduct.
TECHEVAL, conducted at Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Md. and NAVAIR's China Lake facility, ended in February with an EA-6B firing a full-system high-speed antiradiation missile (HARM) on an actual threat radar serving as an "enemy" threat emitter in a simulated combat scenario. The missile scored a "bull's-eye" on the target.
"ICAP III is the only system of its kind in the world," said Patricia McMahon, vice president and electronic warfare integrated product team leader for Northrop Grumman's Airborne Early Warning and Electronic Warfare Systems business area. "The ICAP III HARM 'precision kill' of an actual target emitter really drives home the system's capabilities. ICAP III's performance through TECHEVAL has also demonstrated to our customer the advantages that it brings to the warfighter and how it will support all the objectives of the Navy's Sea Power 21 doctrine."
TECHEVAL demonstrated ICAP III's advanced selective-reactive jamming and geolocation capabilities. Selective-reactive jamming - a new concept in electronic attack - was made possible by the advanced ICAP III receiver system and sophisticated algorithms developed by the ICAP III team. Selective-reactive jamming allows the system to focus its jamming power more effectively on specific radar frequencies and to counter modern, frequency-hopping radars designed to defeat older jamming systems.
"The precision of ICAP III's selective-reactive jamming capability and the speed of its decision making process provides a quantum leap in combat system effectiveness for our customers," added McMahon. "It will be a significant force multiplier for the Navy's electronic attack fleet."
ICAP III's unique geolocation capability, which benefits from its network-centric technology and its time-distance interferometry algorithms, enables the system to locate emitters with targetable precision and pass that information to others in the battle-management network. The new tactical displays and other crew-vehicle interfaces were also positively evaluated during the testing and contributed to the system's "thumbs up."
The Airborne Early Warning and Electronic Systems Warfare business area is part of Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. 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.
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CONTACT: John A. Vosilla Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (516) 575-5119 John.Vosilla@ngc.com