In Brief

Oct. 1, 2005
Successful first flights conducted using radar for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter; EADS joins Northrop Grumman on KC-30 tanker bid and more...

Successful first flights conducted using radar for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems sector in Baltimore started flight-testing the advanced fire-control radar being developed for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft. The radar is to enable F-35 pilots to engage air and ground targets at long range, while also providing situational awareness for enhanced survivability. Designated the AN/APG-81, the active electronically scanned array radar first flew on Aug. 23 and 25 on Northrop Grumman’s BAC-1-11 test-bed aircraft. During the flights, the all-aspect search, air-track and synthetic-aperture radar mode capabilities of the radar were successfully evaluated against airborne and ground-based targets. In November, the first F-35 radar system will go to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, to be installed into the JSF Mission Systems Integration Lab and tested with other F-35 mission-avionics systems. The F-35 is a stealthy, supersonic multirole fighter designed to replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft.

EADS joins Northrop Grumman on KC-30 tanker bid

EADS has joined Northrop Grumman as teammate and principal subcontractor on the Northrop Grumman KC-30 advanced tanker bid for the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation aerial refueling aircraft. EADS will bring its in-flight refueling experience to the Northrop Grumman KC-30 solution through EADS North America. EADS North America recently announced plans to establish a U.S. production site in Mobile, Ala., which will begin operation in 2006 with the opening of a new Airbus engineering center.

French select Spectrum’s flexComm SDR-3002 platform for homeland defense

Spectrum Signal Processing in Burnaby, British Columbia, will provide software-defined-radio (SDR) technology, training, and support services to the French Ministry of the Interior for the development of a new communications platform for a homeland security application. “Spectrum will provide a turnkey solution that allows our organization to immediately begin our application development rather than spend valuable time and resources building a base development system,” says a senior official at the French Ministry of the Interior. “Spectrum’s ability to provide extensive hands-on training and on-site technical support in our native French language also represents a significant benefit. This enables our project team to ramp up quickly and to reduce the hardware configuration and software operation learning curves of our engineers.” For more information about the SDR-3002 and Spectrum, visit

Raytheon delivers nonlethal Sheriff Active Denial System

Officials at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Ariz., have delivered a short-range millimeter-wave directed-energy nonlethal weapon to the Department of Defense’s Full Spectrum Effects Platform (FSEP) program-also known as Project Sheriff-for the Office of Force Transformation (OFT). OFT, in partnership with the U.S. Army’s Futures Center and the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), is developing an operational prototype to provide forces fighting in complex urban environments with new options and a combination of lethal and nonlethal capabilities in responding to threats. “This system will protect U.S. and allied warfighters operating in dangerous urban settings while reducing the number of civilian casualties,” says Mike Booen, vice president of Advanced Missile Defense and Directed Energy Weapons at Raytheon Missile Systems. In the compressed urban environment, discriminating threats from nonthreats is difficult and can require split-second scalable response. Raytheon’s millimeter-wave energy beam can help discriminate the threat and assess the intent of an aggressor with a temporary reversible effect whose safety has been established and demonstrated in more than 12 years of testing by the Air Force Research Laboratory with sponsorship from the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate. Raytheon is currently assisting NSWC with the integration of the short-range nonlethal system into a Stryker combat vehicle.

Boeing unveils flight deck for 787 Dreamliner

The Boeing Co. in Everett, Wash., revealed the flight deck for the all-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger jet. The flight deck features new technologies while retaining significant operational similarity with the popular Boeing 777 and other Boeing jets. The combination provides airlines with dual benefits-operational improvements and cost-saving commonality, Boeing officials say. “We worked with airlines and their pilots from around the world to be sure that the changes we introduce with the 787 are improvements that help increase situational awareness and better manage pilot work load,” says Mike Bair, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. The new flight deck features much larger display screens than previously seen in airplanes. The five 12-by-9.1-inch screens offer 546 square inches of display space-twice that of the Boeing 777-enabling pilots access to more information. Other key features of the new 787 flight deck are the dual head-up displays (HUDs) and dual electronic flight bag. The 787 also retains a significant amount of commonality with the 777. Pilots who fly the 777 will need only five days of training to be ready to fly the 787, Boeing officials say.

BVR Systems wins a subcontract for another F-16 simulator

BVR Systems in Rosh Ha’Ayin, Israel, won a subcontract for work-share in a new F-16I simulator for the Israel Air Force (IAF). The Prime contractor for the Israeli portion of the program is Elbit Systems in Haifa, Israel. As part of the business setup for this program, Elbit Systems will provide BVR with additional orders in the future. BVR Systems specializes in advanced defense training and simulation systems. The company offers solutions to the simulation, training, and debriefing needs of modern air, sea, and ground forces. For more information visit

Kontron reorganizes facility in Northern California

Officials at Kontron America in Fremont, Calif., renamed the Fremont location that houses Kontron’s Embedded Modules and Mobile Rugged business units as Kontron America, Silicon Valley. The operations at the Silicon Valley facility also have been reorganized. Under this plan, the Embedded Modules and Mobile Rugged groups will continue to function as separate business units, but will take advantage of the research and development capabilities and knowledge that both the two engineering teams have to offer, Kontron company officials say. For additional information on Kontron, visit

EaglePicher batteries power MRO and launch vehicle for mission to Mars

Officials at the Defense and Space Power Division of EaglePicher Technologies LLC in Joplin, Mo., announced that their batteries powered NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and the Atlas V launch vehicle it flew on. EaglePicher provided the 50 AH, 11-cell, Common Pressure Vessel (CPV), Nickel-Hydrogen main power battery for the MRO as well as the 150 AH, 28-volt, silver zinc main power battery for the Atlas V launch vehicle. Both batteries were supplied to Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, Colo., the prime contractor for the MRO as well as the Atlas launch vehicle. The launch vehicle battery was located in the Centaur upper stage and provided electrical power for launch and later separation of the MRO satellite. The MRO satellite batteries will supply electrical power for the mission during the dark or sunless periods as MRO travels “behind” Mars during each orbit and the spacecraft’s solar panels are not exposed to sunlight. For more information visit

Lockheed Martin solar x-ray imager set for launch

The Solar X-ray Imager (SXI) instrument, designed and built at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Palo Alto, Calif., for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Md., is awaiting launch on the NOAA GOES-N spacecraft from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. SXI is one of a suite of instruments that resides on the current generation of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES). “While the other GOES instruments provide near-constant viewing of the Earth, SXI is designed to view the Sun and provide vital information regarding solar activity,” says Mons Morrison, SXI program manager at the ATC. The SXI, one of a suite of instruments on the GOES-N satellite, will be used to aid National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Air Force personnel in issuing forecasts and alerts of “space weather” conditions, and in developing a better understanding of Sun-related phenomena that affect the Earth’s environment. Turbulent “space weather” can affect radio communication on Earth, induce currents in electric power grids and long distance pipelines, cause navigational errors in magnetic guidance systems, upset satellite circuitry, and expose astronauts to increased radiation. SXI will observe solar flares, coronal mass ejections, coronal holes, and active regions in the x-ray region of the electromagnetic spectrum from 6 to 60 Angstroms. These features are the dominant sources of disturbances in space weather that lead to, for example, geomagnetic storms. SXI will also examine flare properties, newly emerging active regions, and x-ray bright points on the Sun.

DRS Technologies to acquire Engineered Support Systems

DRS Technologies Inc. in Parsippany, N.J., is buying the stock of Engineered Support Systems Inc. (ESSI) in St. Louis for $43 per share. ESSI builds military electronics, support equipment, and provides technical services for logistics support, and will become the third DRS operating group focused on support and services. DRS officials say the acquisition will strengthen the company’s positions with the U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy, intelligence agencies, prime contractors, and international military forces; increase access to government contracts; increase content on military programs; enhance DRS intelligence and satellite communications expertise; broaden DRS’s homeland security capabilities; and diversify the company’s program base.

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