Northrop Grumman's G-1159 'BAMS' flying test bed N82CR
sits on the ramp at Mohave, CA. 7/14/2007
Photo: Dave Cibley
6/19/2007 - WASHINGTON -- Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully
completed the first phase of system-level flight testing for
its Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) Head Start risk
reduction effort. The program used Northrop Grumman's Gulfstream
II (G-II) test bed aircraft to validate how an Internet Protocol
(IP)-based wireless network can be used effectively to transfer
data from an unmanned aircraft to a prototype Mission Control
Station (MCS) located in Hollywood, Md.
The testing validated the addressed network management of IP-based
publish-and-subscribe architecture using multiple narrow-band
communications links. The Advanced Mission Management System
(AMMS), central to the Northrop Grumman BAMS offer, demonstrated
the open architecture of the hardware and software by being
able to quickly incorporate the functions necessary to support
these test flights.
"The team successfully exercised the open nature of the
AMMS to host new and pre-existing software by effectively using
an IP-based communications solution to link payloads with the
Navy's information network as represented by our prototype ground
segment in Maryland," said Bill Beck, Northrop Grumman
BAMS Head Start program manager. "This validates the benefits
of the Navy's mandate to use open system architecture principles
to reduce system development costs."
During both test flights, the AMMS prototype installed on the
G-II aircraft received real-time Automatic Identification System
track data from ship traffic in the Pacific and transmitted
it through two independent narrow-band communications links
(UHF and L-band) to a local ground station. This data was then
sent in near-real-time via the Internet to the prototype MCS,
where the data was integrated on an unclassified global command
and control system display.
During a second series of test flights in July and August,
Northrop Grumman will continue to mature its Multi-Function
Active Sensor (MFAS) Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA)
radar, incorporate a dual Common Data Link (CDL) system, and
incorporate a network and bandwidth management system emulating
an Automated Digital Network System router to downlink data
to the MCS.
"In preparation for these flights, the test hardware and
software undergo integration testing in the Global Hawk System
Center using the same management processes that will be used
during the System Design Development (SDD) program," said
Matt Shihadeh, Head Start Flight Test program manager. "The
prototype radar and dual CDL links have performed well in the
lab and are being moved to Mojave, California, for installation
on the G-II test aircraft."
This first phase of flight testing validated the IP-based mission
management architecture Northrop Grumman is offering for the
BAMS program. Phase Two will address specific communications,
network and sensor performance points applicable to BAMS. Ongoing
integration and flight testing have validated the software development/re-use
approaches planned for the BAMS SDD program. The overall effort
has been designed to maximize applicability to BAMS to minimize
SDD risks as well as to reduce the cost and schedule required
to integrate the initial software release for the BAMS system.
BAMS will supply the U.S. Navy with a persistent global intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system to protect the
fleet and provide a capability to detect, track, classify, and
identify maritime, littoral and land targets.
The Northrop Grumman RQ-4N BAMS team includes Northrop Grumman
as prime contractor and team leader, unmanned aerial vehicle
supplier and developer of the Multi-Function Active Sensor active
electronically scanned array radar and the Night Hunter II electro-optical
infrared sensor; L-3 Communications providing communications
integration; Raytheon supporting the Mission Control System
segment; and Rolls-Royce providing the aircraft engine.
Source: Northrop Press Release