Northrop Grumman to build Huntsman secure networking radio for aviation and missile-defense applications

Sept. 10, 2019
LX-4-SAB radio offers NSA-certified Suite B cryptography for secret-and-below applications; and several radio frequencies for anti-jam redundancy.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – U.S. Army aviation and missile-defense experts needed a secure, portable, wireless mesh network radio to operate in extreme environments and weather conditions. They found their solution from the Northrop Grumman Mission Systems segment in Herndon, Va.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., announced a $50.9 million contract to Northrop Grumman last week to build the Huntsman secure network radio.

The Northrop Grumman LX-4-SAB secure network radio offers National Security Agency (NSA)-certified Suite B cryptography for high value product for secret-and-below applications; and several radio frequencies for anti-jamming, high reliability, redundancy and diversity, and load-balancing.

The radio also uses the InstaMesh networking software from Rajant Corp. in Malvern, Pa., to enable the network to quickly adapt rapidly to constantly moving network elements. The radio is dust-tight and water-resistant to withstand hostile environments with conditions such as temperature extremes, wind, rain, snow, dust, and vibration.

Related: Data Link Solutions to upgrade MIDS-LVT software-defined radio communications for military networking

The network radio is scalable to hundreds of mobile high-bandwidth nodes; offers ast and easy deployment for establishing ad-hoc networks; has a redundant, self-healing mesh technology; and offers the BC|Commander application for Windows or Linux for configuration and continuous remote monitoring of Huntsman Secure Network Radio and mesh network link quality.

The Huntsman radio has data throughput as fast as 54 megabits per second; latency of than 1 millisecond per hop; range as far as 6.2 miles omnidirectional; and uses four transceivers per radio -- one that operates at 1.3 GHz and three that operate at 4.8 GHz.

It has two 10/100 Megabit Ethernet interfaces.; Two USB and one RS-422 interfaces for application-specific uses like GPS integration and voice communications); one DS-101 key fill interface.; LEDs for mesh network status, key status, and application specific uses.; and four N-type RF ports.

The radio's networking capability offers VLAN tagging and trunking support; VLAN priority and QoS support; and black side DHCP support. Security includes access control lists (black list and white list); node-to-node authentication; and per-hop verification of packets within the mesh.

Related: Collins Aerospace to provide secure radio communications cryptography for AN/ARC-210 aircraft radios

The Huntsman radio measures 8.43 by 7.78 by 2.4 inches and weights 8 pounds and 10 ounces. It accepts input power of 18 to 75 volts DC, uses an AC power supply for 100-to-240 volts DC at 50 to 60 Hz; and consumes 40 Watts power maximum.

The radio operates in temperatures from -50 to 80 degrees Celsius; 95 percent non-condensing humidity; is designed to MIL-STD-810G for shock and vibration; and has a sealed, ruggedized enclosure that allows for radio deployment in all types of weather.

On this contract Northrop Grumman will do the work at locations determined with each order, and should be finished by September 2022. For more information contact Northrop Grumman Mission Systems online at, or the Army Contracting Command-Redstone at

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