Northrop Grumman to develop battlefield airborne communication node

RESTON, Va. 22 June 2005. Engineers at the Northrop Grumman Corp. Mission Systems segment in Reston, Va., are developing an airborne communications relay and information server to provide warfighters with important information.

Jun 22nd, 2005

RESTON, Va. 22 June 2005. Engineers at the Northrop Grumman Corp. Mission Systems segment in Reston, Va., are developing an airborne communications relay and information server to provide warfighters with important information.

Northrop Grumman is working under terms of a $25.7 million contract from the U.S. Air Force Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.

Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) will help link relatively old radios and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems to U.S. Department of Defense networks.

"BACN's ability to translate and share data from all battlefield communications channels using Internet protocols will resolve interoperability problems, provide warfighters with a predictive battlespace-awareness capability, and give commanders greater flexibility and faster response time in executing the theater air plan," says Barry Rhine, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems sector's defense mission systems business unit.

Money for the project comes from the Defense Microelectronics Activity's Advanced Technology Support Program, which is designed to give the government access to a broad range of technologies and capabilities to upgrade military systems

The Northrop Grumman team will develop an networking payload composed of Internet protocol-based radios, gateway manager, software-defined radios, and Advanced Information Architecture (AIA), all under control of an airborne executive processor. Northrop Grumman developed the gateway manager and AIA.

A NASA WB-57 high-altitude research aircraft will carry the payload to assess the ability to adapt BACN capabilities to unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), including Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk. The Northrop Grumman team will demonstrate BACN's capabilities during Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment '06 (JEFX) next spring.

"BACN will provide digital and voice communications relay and information services to systems connected to the airborne network, and will close capability gaps in theater air planning and dynamic execution, use of Internet protocol for tactical networking, fusion of information for predictive battlespace awareness and interoperability with homeland security and homeland defense organizations," explains Mike Twyman, vice president of the Mission Systems sector's Communication and Information Systems business unit.

The Northrop Grumman team includes the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston; Raytheon Solipsys in Laurel, Md.; L3 Communications in Salt Lake City; Vanu Inc. in Cambridge, Mass.; Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and ViaSat Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif.

Integration will be performed at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems' facility in San Diego. For more information contact Northrop Grumman online at www.northropgrumman.com.

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