June 20th, 2007 07:15 EST
Northrop Grumman Joint STARS Completes First Advanced Targeting Flight Test
MELBOURNE, Fla., June 20, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) recently completed its first test flight of an enhanced targeting capability for the U.S. Air Force`s E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) from its facility here. The flight of the Joint STARS test aircraft demonstrated the next generation tracking capability offered by Northrop Grumman-developed Data Fusion System(tm) (DFS) and related system improvements to the Joint STARS radar and navigation subsystems.
The flight was conducted under the Enhanced Land Maritime Mode/Affordable Moving Surface Target Engagement/Advanced Radar Modes (ELMM/AMSTE/ARM) upgrade contract awarded to Northrop Grumman late last year. During the ELMM first flight, crews demonstrated precision and long-term tracking of maritime targets, maintaining an automated track of a maritime target for over two hours during one segment of the flight.
"The DFS lets the system track multiple targets within the radar`s field of view," said Dave Nagy, Northrop Grumman vice president for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance systems. "It automatically tasks the radar or other sensors to collect data required to maintain track quality of all selected tracks. The system provides automated target re-acquisition."
The flight also demonstrated integrating a current generation commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) IBM BladeCenter(tm) server into the Joint STARS data management baseline. Joint STARS was one of the first platforms to use COTS systems in military applications in the 1990s.
"By using standard off-the-shelf computers, networking, and storage solutions, Joint STARS has reduced operating costs and improved system reliability over the previous military specification hardware system," said Nagy. "Using COTS equipment also gives the Air Force a low-cost method to introduce a new generation of hardware to take advantage of advances in processing power."
An IBM BladeCenter(tm) server hosted DFS during this flight and will host additional radar processing capability for subsequent flights. Joint STARS is making use of its redundant multi-server capability to provide significant processing capability in a small, standard rack-mount footprint.
The ELMM modifications also included the Northrop Grumman LN-260 Embedded GPS/Inertial Navigation System guidance system.
"The LN-260 technology results in unequaled navigation and synthetic aperture radar stabilization performance as well as an extremely small target location error," said Mark Casady, vice president of Navigation and Positioning Systems for Northrop Grumman. "The LN-260 successfully completed this test flight exceeding its performance requirements and demonstrating how fiber-optic technology can economically improve the radar performance."
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.