Northrop Grumman Corporation will highlight a wide range of its key capabilities and programmes at the Australian International Air Show, including unmanned aircraft systems, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), airborne early warning and control systems, fire control radars and infrared countermeasures.
The air show takes place at Avalon near Geelong, Victoria from 1-6 March. Northrop Grumman's exhibit in the U.S. pavilion is at 3C 12 in Hall C and the company's business centre is located at N11. In addition, a full-scale, reconfigurable Global Hawk can be seen in the outside display area at EN-E3.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Global Hawk's first non-stop international flight from Edwards Air Force Base in California to RAAF Edinburgh near Adelaide.
"The Australian Air Show provides an excellent opportunity for Northrop Grumman to meet with the Australian Defence Force, regional customers, and partners to discuss how best to respond to current and emerging needs," said John Brooks, president of Northrop Grumman International Inc. and vice president of business development for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "Our ISR and security capabilities across the company are well matched to meeting the region's growing defence and security requirements."
Northrop Grumman's airborne surveillance capability will be highlighted with models of the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System (BAMS UAS), the lighter than air Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) and Fire Scout, the vertical unmanned aircraft system (VUAS) multi-role UAV on display.
"BAMS, based on our proven Global Hawk platform, is ideal for Australia. It's a transformational capability that has the speed and endurance to watch over Australia's vast land and maritime jurisdictions. Global Hawk would also make an ideal national security asset, performing a wide array of civilian roles, such as response to natural disasters, bushfires, environmental monitoring and drug interdiction in addition to its very considerable military tasking," said Brooks.
The MQ-4C BAMS UAS, which recently completed its Critical Design Review, is based on a maritime derivative of the combat-proven RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft with sensors, and is a multi-mission maritime ISR system that will provide a continuous on-station presence while conducting open-ocean and littoral surveillance of targets. Construction of the first BAMS UAS aircraft began in September 2010.
The company will present scale models of the entire family of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) fire control radars, including the AN/APG-81 radar for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. As the central combat sensor aboard the F-35, the AN/APG-81 represents the most advanced fighter AESA in the world, providing unprecedented air-to-air, air-to-ground and high-resolution synthetic aperture radar images for the war fighter.
Northrop Grumman is developing up to three LEMV long endurance, lighter than air hybrid airship systems for the U.S. Army. This system is designed to be optionally manned, providing the flexibility to operate with or without a crew on board and sustain altitudes of 20,000 feet for a three-week period, to provide persistent ISR capability. Since the contract award in June 2010, the LEMV programme recently completed the fourth major milestone – Critical Design Review. Final testing of the first LEMV is planned for the end of 2011.
The MQ-8B Fire Scout is designed to accommodate a variety of sensor payloads to provide unprecedented situational awareness and precision targeting support. The U.S. Navy deployed a two-aircraft system on board the USS Halyburton (FFG-40) in January – Fire Scout's second at-sea deployment. A three-aircraft, land-based system will also support U.S. Central Command in Afghanistan early this year. The first phase of testing was conducted on board the Navy's littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS-1) in November, a critical step in integrating Fire Scout on both variants of the LCS.
Highlighted in the exhibit will be Northrop Grumman's role in the EA-18G Growler airborne electronic attack aircraft, a derivative of the combat-proven, two-seat F/A-18 Hornet. Northrop Grumman is the principal subcontractor to Boeing and is responsible for design and production of the shipset – the centre/aft fuselage section, twin vertical tails and all associated subsystems – for the single-seat F/A-18E, the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet, as well as for the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft. To date, the company has delivered 500 Super Hornet and Growler shipsets.
Other programmes available for viewing will be large aircraft infrared countermeasures (LAIRCM) for transport and refueling aircraft. The LAIRCM system is an active countermeasure that defeats the threat missile guidance system by directing a high-intensity modulated laser beam into the missile seeker. In addition, the LAIRCM system automatically counters advanced IR missile systems with no action required by the crew. The pilot will simply be informed that a threat missile was detected and jammed.
Also present will be a full scale model and video of STARLite, a lightweight wide area surveillance radar used for supporting tactical operations. STARLite features synthetic aperture radar (SAR), ground moving target indicator (GMTI) and dismount moving target indicator (DMTI) capabilities for unmanned and manned aerial vehicle applications.
Also highlighted will be the international version of the Joint Mission Planning System (i-JMPS) software; the geospatial application Trinidad, a low-cost, low-risk approach to providing high-resolution synthetic aperture radar imaging for increased ISR capability; and the Expeditionary Tactical Automated Security System ExTASS, an integrated airfield and asset protection solution for force protection missions.
Northrop Grumman has well-established relationships with Australia and other countries in the region, where it has been supporting a variety of both defence and civil programmes for more than 20 years. Northrop Grumman is a key subcontractor for the Wedgetail AEW&C, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the FA/18 Super Hornet programmes.
Northrop Grumman has separate teaming arrangements with Australian companies CEA Technologies and Electro Optic Systems (EOS). CEA is providing logistics support for Northrop Grumman's MESA radar on Wedgetail, and in addition Northrop Grumman and CEA are collaborating to develop an advanced air traffic management system. Northrop Grumman is working with EOS to develop new technologies for space debris tracking.