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Northrop Grumman - F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)

As a principaemember of the Lockheed Martin team, Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development and demonstration of this multirole fighter. The other principal member is BAE SYSTEMS. Each of these companies has more than 50 years of experience designing and producing fighter and attack aircraft. The F-35 program has a potential value of $200 billion, of which Northrop Grumman's work share represents approximately 25 percent.

Northrop Grumman plays a critical role in the development and demonstration of the F-35. Responsibilities range from integrating a major section of the aircraft's structure to producing key avionics and communications subsystems to developing mission-planning software and training systems. Working as an integrated team with its customers, teammates and suppliers, Northrop Grumman delivers products and services that help make the F-35 the world's most advanced multi-role, stealthy combat aircraft.

Northrop Grumman's support of the F-35 program spans five of its seven sectors. The Integrated Systems sector is a principal F-35 teammate designing and building the center fuselage and providing systems test, vehicle systems, mission systems and autonomic-logistics products and service. The Electronic Systems sector provides the fire-control radar and, in joint efforts with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, is developing the electro-optical distributed aperture system and the electro-optical targeting system. The Mission Systems sector provides system and software engineering support for the mission-planning system. The Space Technology sector provides the integrated communications, navigation and identification avionics suite. The Information Technology sector, in joint efforts with Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support, provides training-management software.

Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector, based in El Segundo, Calif., brings decades of experience in advanced tactical fighter and long-range strike aircraft development and integration, stealth technologies and composite manufacturing capabilities, avionics systems integration, sensors, advanced commercial aircraft manufacturing processes and aircraft carrier suitability. The company also has a long-standing relationship with the U.S. Navy.

Integrated Systems is responsible for detailed design and integration of the F-35 center fuselage and weapons bay, including installation design and integration of installed subsystems; substantial portions of systems engineering including operational analysis, mission systems architecture design, and specialty engineering; development of a major portion of mission systems software; ground and flight test support; development support in the area of signature/low observables; modeling and simulation activities including pilot-in-the-loop simulations; low observables support; and training courseware. Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems performs its F-35 work in El Segundo and Palmdale, Calif.

As a key F-35 subcontractor, Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector, based in Baltimore, Md., is responsible for developing and producing the advanced AN/APG-81 fire control radar system and several other key elements of the aircraft's integrated mission systems. Electronic Systems brings more than a half-century of experience in the design, development, integration, production and support of advanced sensors for tactical fighter aircraft.

The active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the F-35 is based on Northrop Grumman's F-16 and F/A-22 radar heritage. The APG-81 has undergone flight testing for the past several years and will provide exceptional multi-mission capabilities supporting air-to-air, air-to-surface, and electronic warfare tasking.

In a joint effort with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control of Orlando, Fla., Electronic Systems also provides two other key electronic sensors for the F-35: the Electro-Optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS) and the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS). Northrop Grumman spearheads the work on DAS, which will provide pilots with a unique protective sphere around the aircraft for missile warning, navigation support and night operations. The internally integrated EOTS, led by Lockheed Martin, will provide long-range detection and precision targeting against ground targets, plus long-range air-to-air targeting.

Electronic Systems will also design and develop electronic warfare equipment in support of BAE SYSTEMS' Nashua, N.H., facility. BAE is developing the electronic warfare suite for the F-35. During the SDD program phase, Electronic Systems' specially equipped BAC 1-11 aircraft will also serve as the flying mission systems avionics testbed for the F-35.

Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector, based in Reston, Va., provides software and systems support for the F-35 with the goal of making the F-35 the most interoperable plane ever. The systems supplied by Mission Systems enable the aircraft the ability to exchange information and data with other platforms. Mission Systems is also developing requirements for the systems using Interoperable Systems Management and Requirements Transformation (iSMART), a systems engineering process designed to assure interoperability, which has traditionally been an issue with these systems. The iSMART process provides the brainpower that ensures the establishment of correct requirements, and Northrop Grumman is the only company in the world that has this ability.

Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector, based in Redondo Beach, Calif., is responsible for the development and production of integrated avionics that provide over 35 communications, navigation and identification (CNI) functions for the F-35. Since 1981, Space Technology has leveraged its expertise in software development, microelectronics technology and telecommunications systems engineering to solve the complex challenges of military avionics. This pioneering work in integrated avionics has set the industry standard for CNI systems for next-generation military aircraft.

Space Technology's innovations were spawned by the growing need for increased functionality within the extreme space and weight limitations of fighter aircraft. The developments resulted in software-defined radios (SDRs) that can simultaneously carry out numerous tasks and dynamically reconfigure functionalities. Space Technology's integrated avionics box, designed using SDR technology, is a fraction of the size and weight of traditional avionics boxes dedicated to single functions.

This "smart-box" approach enables increased performance, quicker deployment, higher availability, enhanced scalability and lower life-cycle cost. The integrated CNI avionics greatly increases pilot effectiveness and help to bring warfighters safely home from missions. In addition to the F-35, Space Technology is charged with providing the integrated CNI avionics for the F/A-22 Raptor air dominance fighter and the RAH-66 Comanche reconnaissance/attack helicopter.

Northrop Grumman's Information Technology sector, based in MacLean, Va., is developing management software in joint efforts with Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:31:09 ZULU