MELBOURNE, Fla., Aug. 7, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has completed a successful operational test flight for the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) Attack Support Upgrade (ASU) program. The flight demonstrated the operational utility of the new Link-16 Tactical Digital Information Links Command and Control (C2) functionality for Joint STARS operators.
"The Full Battle Management element of ASU follows the very successful Air Control/Theater Missile Defense (AC/TMD) delivery completed early last year that provided initial command and control capability to the Joint STARS fleet," said Jon Kruse, Northrop Grumman ASU engineering manager. "With AC/TMD, Joint STARS operators could assign a mission, track it through target destruction, receive an immediate bomb damage assessment report from the attack aircraft and then pass the information to other theater command and control assets. This capability fuses ground battlefield data into fighter and bomber cockpit displays, linking the sensor to shooter during ground battlefield operations. It has really made Joint STARS a force multiplier in performing its role in C4ISR theater operations."
This second of two spiral deliveries was the first time the FBM functionality of ASU was used in an operational environment with other U.S. Air Force assets, including E-3 AWACS, B-2 Stealth bomber and Link-16-equipped command facilities on the ground.
"The Attack Support Upgrade program's Full Battle Management element is the most far-reaching Link-16 implementation to date within the U.S. Department of Defense, significantly enhancing Joint STARS C2 capability and making it the premier Link-16-capable platform in the Defense Department arsenal," said Dave Nagy, vice president of Northrop Grumman's Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Programs.
"With FBM, Joint STARS now supports the full set of command messages to digitally control air assets," continued Nagy. "These improvements provide Joint STARS operators with increased real-time information on available weapons, airfields and weather, improving mission assignment development and coordination and control of available weapons."
The enhancements provide new capabilities for the Joint STARS system and onboard operators. The E-8C Link-16 network management capacity provides more efficient communication transmission routing. The ASU also provides more rapid exchange of electronic warfare surveillance and intelligence information, enhancing time-critical target prosecution that reduces the kill chain time line.
In addition, the Joint STARS' Attack Support Upgrade provides full digital for information exchange on combat search and rescue missions. Finally, Joint STARS operators will now be able to provide near-real-time imagery to fighter aircraft of the targets they are engaging.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
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