Northrop Grumman to develop Coast Guard electro-optic shipboard warning system

APOPKA, Fla., 18 Nov. 2006. The Northrop Grumman Corp. Laser Systems division in Apopka, Fla., won a contract from the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center in Groton, Conn., to develop an electro-optic based system intended to warn surface vessels and aircraft in violation of ship protection zones of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels at anchor or in port.

APOPKA, Fla., 18 Nov. 2006. The Northrop Grumman Corp. Laser Systems division in Apopka, Fla., won a contract from the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center in Groton, Conn., to develop an electro-optic based system intended to warn surface vessels and aircraft in violation of ship protection zones of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels at anchor or in port.

The contract came from the Coast Guard and from the U.S. Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Va. The contract amount was not disclosed.

Developing the Detection and Unambiguous Warning System (DUWS) will use the Northrop Grumman Venom system, a gimbaled version of the company's combat-proven lightweight laser designator rangefinder.

The DUWS warning system has red and green lights mounted side-by-side on the deck of a ship. Shipboard operators aim the lights at ships or aircraft determined to be encroaching the ship's protection zone.

When the lights aim at the intruding boat or aircraft, the intruder will see a bright flashing light coming from the ship. If the threatening craft continues toward the ship, the light becomes brighter, turns red, and flashes. The message is to stay clear. If the intruder does not change course, the shipboard operators can then decide the next action.

DUWS will include additional modifications to the Venom system such as a multi-color laser warning and visual disruption component and an active optical feedback system to determine if the intruder observed the warning.

"Northrop Grumman's warning system will provide a scalable response to the intrusion of ship protection zones," says Greg Williams, general manager of Northrop Grumman Laser Systems. "From detection of a suspected intruder to visible warning and non-lethal discouragement, the system could aid Coast Guard and Navy personnel in the protection of the nation's harbors."

During the initial contract phase, Northrop Grumman will develop the design and performance characteristics of the DUWS system. Venom will be the baseline with inputs from human behavior and safety analyses to ascertain effective and safe warning levels.

For more information contact Northrop Grumman online at www.northropgrumman.com.

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