9/10/2007 - WASHINGTON -- Northrop Grumman Corporation has
successfully completed a program of simulations, demonstrations
and tests designed to provide the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance
(BAMS) program with low programmatic and technical risk.
Northrop Grumman's BAMS Head Start Program successfully completed
four system-level integration and development initiatives, which
included: integrated mission system testing; full system simulation
as hosted on a prototype mission control system and aircraft
simulator; airframe modifications and testing; and initiating
air vehicle long lead procurements and capital investments.
"These pre-contract activities are aligned with our proposed
BAMS offer focused on creating the maximum programmatic and
technical margins and thereby reducing risk for the U.S. Navy,"
said Carl Johnson, Northrop Grumman BAMS program vice president.
Over the past four months, the mission system was tested on
a Northrop Grumman test bed aircraft flying out of California
and linked to a Maryland-based prototype ground segment. "We
conducted more than 40 hours of flight testing on 19 flights
to validate the benefits of our BAMS architecture and to develop
our prototyped sub-systems," said Bill Beck, Head Start
program manager. "We optimized maritime modes on the 360-degree
Active Electrically Scanned Array sensor, which was controlled
through the newly developed Advanced Mission Management System.
In addition, we were successful in demonstrating our network
and bandwidth management system that incorporated L-3's dual
communication data link system."
"Integrating a large quantity of the planned BAMS mission
system elements provided key software metrics, which confirm
our proposed software development and reuse estimates,"
continued Beck. "The testing validated the Mission Control
System (MCS) architecture -- which is an Internet Protocol (IP)-based,
service-oriented architecture -- using real communication and
sensor data feeds from our West coast-based flight tests to
the MCS/Tactical Support Center (TSC) prototype in Hollywood,
The complete Northrop Grumman BAMS system has also been modeled
in a simulation, which, along with the end-to-end mission system
testing, is hosted within the MCS prototype. The simulation
was built using the proven aircraft models and displays developed
to train RQ-4 pilots for the Navy, Air Force and Northrop Grumman.
The simulation also included the effects of the IP-based design
features for avionics, communication and ground segments. The
system model also includes emulated interfaces with the Maritime
Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces (MPRF) TSC environment. These
interfaces allowed real-time studies of the BAMS system working
in an MPRF environment, which refined manning and training predictions
for MPRF staffs.
The unmanned aircraft segment of the Navy BAMS system must
operate at all altitudes and environments. Changes to the RQ-4B
Global Hawk for the Navy included modifications to a leading
edge section of the wing, which has undergone hail, bird strike
and icing/de-icing tests, as well as radome modifications. The
baseline BAMS design modifications met all test objectives.
"These and other environmental tests are coupled with
full scale structural tests for the complete airframe, which
have shown that our design modifications are robust enhancements
to a great platform," said Beck. "The baseline RQ-4B
airframe is largely unchanged in the RQ-4N configuration, and
by developing a database for new requirements through development
and test efforts, we have been able to initiate long lead materials
and capital equipment procurement to ensure two air vehicles
for the BAMS system design and development phase can be included
in the lot 7 RQ-4 production line, reducing the time to first
"Our Head Start efforts enable the entire Northrop Grumman
team to be networked through the digital environment already
in use, ready to begin SDD," concluded Johnson.
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.
BAMS will provide the U.S. Navy with a persistent global intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance system to protect the fleet
and a capability to detect, track, classify, and identify maritime,
littoral and land targets.
Source: Northrop-Grumman Press Release