Northrop Grumman begins SDD

Northrop Grumman has started work on a $171m system development and demonstration (SDD) contract for a satellite communications platform for the US Air Force


Northrop Grumman has started work on a $171m system development and demonstration (SDD) contract for a satellite communications platform for the US Air Force.



The five-year contract, divided into three stages, will eventually equip the US Air Force B-2 stealth bomber with an extremely high frequency (EHF) satellite communications system that is said to speed up the transfer of battlefield information.



Compared with the current ultra-high frequency (UHF) satellite communications system used by the bomber, the EHF system could allow the B-2 to send and receive battlefield information up to 100 times faster.



This initial stage of the implementation program will see the B-2’s flight management computers being replaced with a single, integrated processing unit developed by Lockheed Martin Systems Integrations, and the delivery of a disk drive unit from Honeywell Defence and Space to ease the transfer of EHF data.



According to Mark Rhoades, Northrop Grumman’s EHF Satcom program manager, the system will also make the B-2 compatible with all secure military satellite communications networks, including the US Department of Defence’s Global Information Grid.



He said: ‘The B-2 will help ensure continuity of secure, worldwide military communications for allied commanders as the current network of Milstar satellites transitions to the new Advanced EHF satellite network.’