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Northrop Grumman and Digital Fountain to Provide Advanced Communications
Northrop Grumman Corp. has entered into a strategic alliance agreement with Digital Fountain Inc. to offer advanced communications technology to a wide range of US and allied government customers. Northrop Grumman provides world-class systems integration capabilities that can enable a variety of users to exchange real-time information on tactical ad-hoc networks. It specializes in offering new networking concepts to address its customers’ technology gaps. These capabilities will be enhanced by Digital Fountain’s expertise in fundamental technology and software components that dramatically improve the quality and performance of communications in the most challenging network conditions. “Northrop Grumman believes its longstanding commitment to seek innovation in non-traditional relationships with companies and incorporate state-of-the-art commercial technology in our products adds even more value to our customers,” said Paul K. Meyer, sector vice president, Advanced Capabilities Development, Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems. “Integrating Digital Fountain capabilities will allow us to offer very near term network-centric solutions that better meet the digital communications requirements of current and future users.” Northrop Grumman will incorporate the Digital Fountain technology in systems it develops for government customers or sublicense it to them or other contractors. Government customers covered in the agreement include defense, intelligence, homeland security and other federal agencies, as well as state and local agencies and governments of allied countries. Digital Fountain’s technology — used for point-to-point communications and broadcast to multiple users simultaneously of data files and streaming video — provides more reliable delivery of data, which is especially important as tactical networks become part of the digital global information grid. Network-centric warfare today relies upon a mix of wired and wireless networks to deliver mission-critical information. Commanders and tactical war fighters depend on timely information to make informed battlefield decisions. However, network conditions within the tactical infosphere can suffer from extreme conditions such as limited bandwidth, high latency (delay time), fading and interference or jamming. The result is often poor communications performance that impairs the ability to share mission-critical information among tactical operation centers and individual war fighters. Digital Fountain’s patented DF Raptor™ forward error correction technology addresses those problems. Adopted as a global standard for the wireless distribution of multimedia content over third-generation (3G) cellular networks, the technology improves the reliability of tactical communications links by protecting the transfer of large files and streaming data from “packet” (data) loss. This improvement in quality guarantees faster delivery of critical data over today’s networks and allows more efficient use of network bandwidth.