HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Dec. 5, 2008 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) advanced fire control products played a key role today in the most challenging test to-date of the nation's Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, the nation's only defense against long-range ballistic missiles.
In the system's first intercept test using multiple sensors (past tests have used only one sensor) to track and hit a live target, the GMD fire control products (GFC) integrated data from several globally-dispersed sensors to help coordinate the overall engagement sequence and more precisely track and ultimately destroy the target. In addition, Northrop Grumman's command launch equipment (CLE) software effectively launched the interceptor.
"The Northrop Grumman fire control products demonstrated a leap in capability today," said Karen Williams, sector vice president and general manager of the Missile Defense Division for Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector. "In pulling data from four sensors, versus one, the GFC had to perform the challenging task of correlating a multitude of different track data to decide on a trajectory that would correctly position the interceptor to hit the target. This is an extremely complicated effort, and I congratulate our team for again raising the bar and successfully meeting the objectives for every test to date."
During the GMD flight test, known as FTG-05 and conducted by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and The Boeing Company, a ground-based interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), Calif. against a target missile threat fired from a launch complex in Kodiak, Alaska. The test employed four sensors located at-sea and along the West Coast. The fire control system - at Ft. Greely, Alaska and in Colorado Springs, Colo. - integrated data from these sensors to help identify, track and shoot down the target. The in-flight communication system data terminal, located at VAFB, provided target-track updates during the interceptor's flight to the target.
"Our advanced software algorithms made sense of the information provided by these sensors, determined the best interceptor path, and put the kill vehicle in the right spot to make the hit," said Steve Owens, GMD Systems program director for Northrop Grumman in Huntsville.
Northrop Grumman is responsible for designing and deploying the GMD fire control products, which include the Fire Control System, In-flight Interceptor Communications System Data Terminal, Communications Network Equipment, Network System Manager, and Command Launch Equipment software. All are under contract to the GMD prime contractor, The Boeing Company.
Since the contract was originally awarded to Northrop Grumman in 1998, these products have met the objectives for all 20 system flight- and ground-tests; have under-run costs by one percent since 2001; and have delivered/installed all products on-time (50 deliveries) every time. The contract was recently recognized as one of the "Big 25" programs by C4ISR Journal.
Northrop Grumman personnel in Huntsville, Ala. develop the GMD products, with additional development sites in Colorado Springs, Colo. and Anaheim, Calif. Harris Corp., a major teammate in Melbourne, Fla., provides hardware for the in-flight communication system. More than 500 people are employed on this project at these four locations and the deployment sites.
In addition, Northrop Grumman supported the test through its prime contractor role at the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center in Colorado Springs, providing engineering and communications expertise that helped the Mission Control Center Facility and the NORTHCOM Command and Control Battle Management and Communication system execute the mission. Northrop Grumman engineers also continuously monitored all test executions to assess the progress and success of the GMD flight test.
For more information about Northrop Grumman in missile defense, go to www.northropgrumman.com/missiledefense .
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a 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.
CONTACT: Marynoele Benson Northrop Grumman Mission Systems (703) 345-6734 firstname.lastname@example.org