Northrop Grumman up upgrade SATCOM capability for Navy E-6B airborne command post
PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 3 Nov. 2015. Satellite communications (SATCOM) experts at Northrop Grumman Corp. will build and test advanced SATCOM capability for the U.S. Navy E-6B Mercury strategic airborne command post and communications relay aircraft under terms of an $12.2 million contract modification announced Monday.
Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking the Northrop Grumman Corp. Information Systems segment in Herndon, Va., to provide modifications to the E-6B aircraft involving the Multi-Role Tactical Common Data Link (MR-TCDL) B-Kit #3, B-Kit #4, and B-Kit Spares #2.
The MR-TCDL provides Ku line-of-sight and Ka SATCOM systems for the E6-B. The data link includes two Ku line-of-sight channels and one Ka satellite communications channel. Other equipment includes power conditioning, cooling, electrical, and network distribution. The system also has equipment that interfaces Block II B kits into the existing E6-B avionics architecture.
The Boeing E-6 Mercury is an airborne command post and communications relay aircraft that conveyed instructions from the National Command Authority to deployed Navy nuclear ballistic missile submarines, as well as to land-based atomic missiles and nuclear-armed bombers.
The E-6B provides command and control of U.S. nuclear forces should ground-based control become inoperable. The plane is based on the four-engine Boeing 707 passenger jetliner.
The E-6B has a battle staff area and new flight deck systems based on modern Boeing 737 aircraft. The E-6 flew in 1987, and the first E-6B was accepted in December 1997. The last production E-6B was delivered to the Navy in late 2006.
On this contract modification Northrop Grumman will do the work in Salt Lake City and San Diego, and should be finished by September 2017.