Northrop Grumman Presents Risk Reduction Approach to BAMS Program

Thursday, May 24, 2007
Northrop Grumman Corporation has unveiled its testing and risk reduction approach for its Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) offer to the U.S. Navy. The approach is focused on delivering the lowest program execution risk and a system solution optimized to deliver lowest developmental and life cycle costs.

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 targets. Northrop Grumman's offer includes an RQ-4N air vehicle derived from the RQ-4B Global Hawk, uniquely configured for the maritime domain that will meet all of the threshold and more than 90% of the Navy's objective requirements.

The Northrop Grumman approach, called Head Start, identifies a rigorous risk assessment focused on system elements, sensor effectiveness, and demonstrating a ForceNet-compliant communications system. "Our principal objective with Head Start is to deliver to the Navy the lowest risk and most cost-effective program," said Carl Johnson, vice president of the BAMS program for Northrop Grumman. "This approach creates a significant program schedule margin which ensures an initial operation capability well ahead of threshold requirements." A major component of the Head Start effort is a flying test-bed that features a specially modified Gulfstream II business jet equipped with the radar sensor that Northrop Grumman is offering as part of its BAMS system. "The test-bed will be used to perform end-to-end communication functionality testing using the Advanced Mission Management System for network, bandwidth and sensor control," said Bill Beck, BAMS Head Start program manager. "It will be tied to a company-built prototype of the Mission Control System (MCS), located at our Hollywood, Md., facility." The prototype MCS contains off-the-shelf commercial software and hardware components to provide the warfighter with a state-of-the-art BAMS control station that can be upgraded as technology evolves. It is being used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed services oriented architecture and can receive sensor data, simulated or from the Gulfstream II testbed, and displays and exploits that data in the same way as BAMS sensor data will be used.

The MCS communications system is equipped with an unmanned aircraft pilot workstation to fly a virtual Global Hawk being simulated on Northrop Grumman's Cyber Warfare Integration Network, a virtual, real-time combat environment used to customize, implement and analyze operational scenarios. The workstation uses the same protocol proposed by Northrop Grumman for the BAMS program.

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