The death of the Pentagon’s second-highest-ranking procurement official on October 15 could well delay the crucial decision on whether Boeing or Northrop Grumman/Airbus wins the U.S Air Force KC-X tanker competition.
The good news is that a supersonic business jet (SSBJ) is almost inevitable. The not so good news is that it is probably at least a decade away. And securing the funding for research may be as problematic as the noise from any sonic boom.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded two $45 million contracts for further research into shoulder-launched-missile protection systems for commercial aircraft. BAE Systems, based in Nashua, N.H., and Northrop Grumman each got the nod to take its program to the Phase II level–a time period covering the 18 months from August this year through January 2006.
Northrop Grumman finalized its acquisition of Scaled Composites on August 24, increasing its shares from 40 percent to 100 percent. Scaled Composites is the aerospace and specialty composites development company founded and run by Burt Rutan, known most recently for designing the first privately funded rocket-powered spacecraft, SpaceShipOne. The spacecraft made its first supersonic flight on Dec.
Northrop Grumman has won the U.S. Navy's Unmanned Combat Air Systems Technology Demonstrator (UCAS-D) contract, worth $635 million over the next six years. The company's proposal for an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) capable of operating from aircraft carriers, designated the X-47B, beat the X-45N submission from Boeing. The decision is ostensibly a big blow for Boeing, which pioneered the development of UCAVs in the U.S.
Northrop Grumman delivered the first production LN-120G GPS-aided stellar-inertial navigation system to the U.S. Air Force last month, to begin the update of the service’s 31 RC-135 Rivet Joint signals intelligence aircraft.
Northrop Grumman has selected the Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) radar from the corporation’s Electronic Systems division to equip its entry in the BAMS competition. The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program is being run by the U.S. Navy for an unmanned maritime patrol aircraft capable of medium-altitude, long-endurance patrols.
The rival contenders for the huge U.S. Air Force KC-X competition for a new aerial tanker have been briefing the relative merits of the KC-30 and the KC-767 all round the show this week. But political considerations apart–and there are plenty of those–it all boils down to a simple fact: size matters.
Northrop Grumman’s laser directional infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) system has successfully thwarted simulated heat-seeking missile attacks on an AH-64D Apache helicopter. The series of 31 tests took place at Vliehors Test Range in Netherlands on a Dutch aircraft.The system is self-contained in a pod and thus removable. It automatically detects a missile launch.
Northrop Grumman’s UK subsidiary, Park Air Systems, has been selected to supply air traffic control upgrades in Central and Eastern Europe worth approximately $15 million.