BETHPAGE, N.Y., May 12, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has completed laboratory testing of a 1/5th scale model of a new, embedded antenna that could replace the current satellite communications (SATCOM) antenna in the U.S. Navy's Advanced Hawkeye early warning and battle management aircraft.
The milestone represents the company's most significant progress to date in developing cost-effective ways to embed antennas in the load-bearing, composite structures of next-generation aircraft and ships. Northrop Grumman conducted the work as part of a $2.5-million, two-and-a-half year manufacturing technology contract awarded by the Office of Naval Research in June 2003.
"Embedding antennas in the outer skin of an aircraft can improve the antenna systems' performance while improving the aircraft's performance and lowering its weight. Our antenna fabrication and test program has demonstrated that fact," said Robert Klein, a vice president of engineering, logistics and technology within Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. "We anticipate applying this technology to other platforms such as ships and satellites."
The benefits of replacing the Hawkeye's current cone-shaped SATCOM antenna, which extends above its rotating radar dome with an equivalent embedded antenna, are significant. Northrop Grumman designers calculate that embedding the antenna would reduce the Hawkeye's aerodynamic drag and reduce its weight by 20 pounds. These improvements would give the Hawkeye greater time-on-station, improve its single-engine rate-of-climb and enhance its overall flying qualities.
The Northrop Grumman team has begun baseline testing of a full-scale SATCOM antenna at the company's Bethpage antenna facility. Using that data they will build several full-scale embedded composite SATCOM antennas for testing.
Beginning this summer the engineering team will also investigate antenna-manufacturing processes, looking principally at how the autoclave process affects the electrical performance of an antenna system, including its alignment and registration. An autoclave is a pressurized oven used to heat, shape and cure composite structures.
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.
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CONTACT: John A. Vosilla Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (516) 575-5119 John.Vosilla@ngc.com