REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Oct. 14, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Space Technology sector has completed a Department of Defense-certified facility and begun integration and test of an engineering model payload for the department's next-generation Advanced Extremely High Frequency (EHF) communications satellite system.
Northrop Grumman will deliver the Advanced EHF payloads to the system prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, Calif. Lockheed Martin is currently under contract to provide the first two Advanced EHF satellites and command control system.
Approximately 40 employees already are at work in the facility. Plans call for as many as 200 employees to be based there when full-up payload testing is underway in 2005.
"It has taken more than two years of planning and construction to complete the facility and we are well on our way to delivering the Flight 1 Advanced EHF payload to Lockheed Martin in December 2005," said Clayton Kau, Northrop Grumman Space Technology vice president and Advanced EHF payload program manager. "The next step is to complete our Advanced EHF payload test set by the end of this year so we can start integrating subsystem hardware and software into a complete payload engineering model early next year. This step will be followed closely with the integration and test of the Advanced EHF flight payload."
Northrop Grumman Space Technology is developing the satellite communications payloads for the system, which will deliver secure, high-speed, network-centric communications to national, strategic and tactical users, as well as international partners. The Advanced EHF program will provide the military's next generation of highly secure communications satellites and its accompanying ground system. Advanced EHF is a follow-on to the Milstar satellite system. The Milstar II satellite communications network supported military operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom by providing secure transmission of critical targeting information and ground forces command and control data.
Kau noted that the new facility, a significant milestone in the company's work on the Advanced EHF program, will accommodate three parallel integration efforts at once -- the engineering model, and payloads for Flight 1 and Flight 2. The facility encompasses quality assurance; integration, planning and logistics; work-in-progress stores; and a test control center. Plans call for an annex to be added so the company can conduct testing of Advanced EHF terminals beginning in 2005.
Key equipment for the payload test set integration is already in place. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory has delivered two AEHF universal system test-terminals. These terminals provide the means for Northrop Grumman to verify the compatibility of the satellite payloads with Advanced EHF ground terminals that military forces will use to communicate via satellite. Additionally, Lockheed Martin delivered to Northrop Grumman the payload support equipment, which emulates the spacecraft computer and provides command and telemetry similar to that of a satellite on orbit.
When fielded, the Advanced EHF system will provide warfighters with important new capabilities. These include delivery of flexible, protected communications services at rates as high as eight megabits per second, or five times faster than is possible with today's Milstar medium-data-rate services. The higher rates and added flexibility will enable satellite communications support for new missions and reduced transmission times for current missions. Advanced EHF will also extend the data rates for highly robust survivable communications to 19.2 kilobits per second.
Northrop Grumman Space Technology is a leading developer of military and civil space systems, satellite payloads, and advanced electronics.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Low- and high-resolution JPEG image files of the Advanced EHF system are available at the following URL: http://lmms.external.lmco.com/photos/military_space/advanced_ehf/advanced_ehf.html
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