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Northrop Grumman Gets Communications Contract

ELECTRONICS: Air Force Exercises Will Include BACN System

SAN DIEGO – The U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) a task order for continued Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) operations, sustainment and support through January 2027. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Northrop Grumman announced the award on the program – based in San Diego’s North County – on June 6.

The BACN system is a high-altitude, airborne communications connectivity technology that translates and distributes imagery, voice and tactical data across various platforms and domains. This data enhances situational awareness communications and coordination to better inform joint warfighters operating across all domains.

The platform was first deployed in 2008 in response to a Joint Urgent Operational Need.

Today, the BACN payload – which is integrated on a modified Bombardier business jet called an E-11 – provides communications support to the Air Force and partner missions it supports. The BACN system features open architecture design, cyber-secure processing and the ability to integrate with advanced technologies. Northrop Grumman describes it as a critical asset enabling Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

The task order secures operations and sustainment for existing and future payloads contained in or connected to the BACN system, as well as associated ground stations or controls, ancillary equipment, support equipment and system integration laboratories.

The BACN platform will be included in four large force customer exercises per year for the duration of the task order.

Robins Air Force Base in Georgia houses three E-11A aircraft. The Air Force says it expects to have nine such aircraft in service by September 2027.

In January, the Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a contract for E-11A platform maintenance and the establishment of main operating base contractor logistics support.

That deal runs through January 2028. The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract could be worth as much as $464.4 million.

Northrop Grumman Teams With Norway Firm

In other news from Northrop Grumman, the big defense contractor announced on May 28 that it will collaborate with Norway-based Andøya Space to support Norway’s long term defense plan. Notable about the announcement was a hint that Norway may be interested in Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton uncrewed aircraft. The aircraft was invented in San Diego and the program is still based locally, though aircraft are built in Palmdale. Existing customers are the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force.

Military publisher Shephard Media estimates the flyaway cost of an individual Triton aircraft is $141.8 million.

Northrop Grumman’s statement says the Triton aligns to Norway’s need for maritime surveillance capabilities in the High North – an area that includes the Arctic.

“Our partnership with Andøya Space marks a pivotal moment in our commitment to advancing autonomous capabilities together with Norwegian industry,” said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, global surveillance at Northrop Grumman. “As Norway considers its options for safeguarding its interests in the High North, Northrop Grumman and Andøya Space are ready to shape the future of advanced autonomous systems by leveraging the MQ-4C Triton to meet the needs of today and the future.”

Leonardo DRS Laser Tech in Demand

Leonardo DRS Inc. (Nasdaq: DRS) announced on Monday (June 10) that it received a full-rate production contract to supply laser technology for systems that protect military helicopters from enemy missiles.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Daylight Solutions, a business unit of DRS in North County, makes key technology for the Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL), which enables Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) systems.

The award from prime contractor Northrop Grumman continues the collaboration between the two companies on this QCL capability that provides advanced protection against current, evolving and proliferating missile threats to U.S. military aircraft.

CIRCM is a fifth-generation, laser-based infrared countermeasure system designed to track and defeat incoming missiles. At its core, the DRS QCL technology enables CIRCM to defeat incoming missiles with an unlimited number of rounds. Its reduced weight and increased power with a powerful laser system protect current and future U.S. Army rotary-wing aircraft. According to Leonardo DRS, the system is positioned for accelerated fielding on more than 1,500 helicopters.

The DRS QCLs are commercial off-the-shelf, lightweight and powerful multi-color laser systems. According to Leonardo DRS, they deliver best-in-class performance for aircraft survivability against missile threats and are designed to enable new or upgraded capabilities in a range of other military uses. The technology is a core part of DRS’s capabilities that are aligned with some of the most critical programs of the U.S. Department of Defense and allied nations.

“We are proud to continue to provide this critical technology to Northrop Grumman to ensure the survivability of our flight crews from surface-to-air missile threats,” said Timothy Day, senior vice president and general manager of the DRS Daylight Solutions business unit. “Our groundbreaking quantum cascade laser technology represents the ultimate choice for aircraft survivability. As missile and other anti-aircraft threats continue to evolve and proliferate around the world, frontline helicopters will require capable systems like CIRCM to defeat these threats,” he said.

Laser technology and electro-optical and infrared sensing is a key strategic focus for Leonardo DRS.

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