News From Washington
Northrop Grumman Contracts Cover Warning and Bomb Damage Systems
The royal Norwegian air force (RNAF) has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman Corp. to conduct integration and performance demonstration testing of its model AN/AAR-54(V) imaging ultraviolet passive missile-approach warning system on RNAF F-16 midlife update (MLU) aircraft. The air forces of Denmark and the Netherlands also have expressed interest in the system for this application and will be supplied with all data concurrently with Norway. Northrop Grumman's Electronic Sensor and Systems Division will integrate the system into a self-protection suite suitable for all three nations' F-16 MLU aircraft. In a pylon configuration, which will be used to eliminate aircraft wiring modifications required by the internal installation, the F-16 MLU will use a six-sensor AN/AAR-54(V) configuration with three sensors in each of the two wing pylons that retain the ability to carry munitions, fuel tanks and other equipment. The warning system will be installed in the Per Udsen pylon-integrated dispenser system and controlled by the Terma Elektronic AS electronic warfare management unit. Missile threat data will be displayed on the model AN/ALR-69 radar-warning receiver display and AN/AAR-54(V) alert information will be routed to the onboard model AN/ALE-40 countermeasures dispensers. The company's model AN/ALQ-162 RF countermeasures system with pulse Doppler upgrade will be mounted on one of the pylons to provide complete IR and RF countermeasures protection. Antenna pattern testing with different equipment on the pylons will be conducted on an F-16 platform at the US Air Force's Rome Laboratory. Following these tests, the system will be installed and integrated with the other self-protection suite avionics. Flight testing by the RNAF will be conducted under European operating conditions. The program is expected to be completed in early 1998. In related news, a US Air Force contract is calling for Northrop Grumman to demonstrate the munition-deployed bomb damage assessment (MDBDA) system, which is designed to provide battlefield commanders with real-time information from strikes against a variety of targets at a relatively low cost. The award is valued at $480 K. The MDBDA system was proposed to the Air Force originally in 1996 and consists of an airborne sensor and an RF data link. The aerodynamic sensor body separates from the munition after weapon release and records high speed, high resolution images. The system is tethered 1000 feet behind the munition, where it focuses on the bomb and the target and continues to record images until immediately after the strike. Data link information can be received aboard the weapon delivery aircraft, another airborne platform or at a ground control station. Northrop Grumman is scheduled to deliver MDBDA sensors installed into GBU-10 tail kits at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Testing is expected to begin in October and conclude in April 1998. The MDBDA system is applicable to a variety of munitions including CBU, GBU and MK-80 series; Global Positioning System-aided munitions; joint direct-attack munitions; joint standoff weapons; and Harpoon/SLAM- and Tomahawk-powered weapons. The MDBDA program is sponsored by the Wright Laboratory Armament Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base.
JTIDS 2M Terminals Enter Full-rate Production
With the award of a contract to GEC Marconi Hazeltine, Wayne, NJ, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) class 2M terminal has entered full-rate production. The US Air Force's Electronic Systems Center will shift program emphasis from producing hardware to increasing the number and diversity of platforms using Link-16 technology. Under the terms of contract, 45 terminals are scheduled to be delivered to the Army. The JTIDS provides real-time distribution of air tracks, netting of defense control centers and control of air- and missile-defense weapon and engagement operations. The terminals are being procured for the Army's forward area air-defense command, control and intelligence; Patriot missile command and control centers; theater high altitude air defense; joint tactical ground systems; and the Brigade and Force Projection Tactical Operations Center air-defense systems.
FCC Spectrum Sales May Impair Military Operations
According to a recent report from the General Accounting Office (GAO) (GAO/NSIAD-97-131), the upcoming auction of a particular 50 MHz spectrum of frequencies by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may potentially impair the operation of the US Navy's cooperative engagement capability (CEC) program. While the Department of Defense (DoD) did not concur with the proposal to transfer the spectrum within the CEC operating band, it did not object to its reallocation to the private sector. However, the DoD has expressed concern recently that the loss of this frequency band from exclusive military use could impair the operation of the CEC program and other DoD systems. The report finds that certain national security and cost implications of the loss of federal frequencies to the CEC program and other systems were not considered fully in 1995 and still have not been assessed properly. The loss of the particular portion of spectrum could reduce the capability of the CEC program in peacetime training operations and render it incapable of serving multiservice operations as large as Desert Storm. The general loss of spectrum may increase mutual interference problems and deny requirements for new spectrum for other information warfare systems. The full impact on cost and operations has not yet been established because of fragmented and inadequate spectrum management within the DoD. The DoD has also expressed concern with spectrum reallocations related to their effects on major weapon system capabilities and the potential costs of system modification and/or rental of frequencies from the private sector. In some instances, the DoD believes that operational problems must be accepted because no available frequencies exist to replace those transferred. The GAO claims that the exchange of technical information between federal and nonfederal agencies critical to efficient use of the spectrum is ineffective. Both the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration agree that the needed information is unavailable and that there is no mechanism in place to collect it. The report recommends that the DoD assign overall responsibility for spectrum management to a specific organization. In addition, the DoD should be given a reasonable amount of time to complete a study of its needs before additional spectrum is auctioned and the chairman, FCC and Department of Commerce should resolve the issues affecting the exchange of technical information, which ultimately impact the decrease in mutual interference and increase of frequency sharing. Finally, the report recommends that the National Security Council consider the need to recover the 50 MHz frequency in the CEC program spectrum and determine how future proposals assigned currently to the DoD for the transfer of spectrum should be handled.
Raytheon Completes Acquisition of Texas Instruments Group
Raytheon Co. has completed its $2.95 B acquisition of Texas Instruments' Defense Systems and Electronics Group. This action will affect approximately 12,000 of the group's employees at facilities in Dallas, Lewisville, McKinney, Sherman and Plano, TX. The group supplies defense systems, including precision-guided weapons, airborne radar, night vision systems and electronic warfare systems. The Department of Justice approved the transaction but required that Raytheon divest itself of Texas Instruments' MMIC operations within six months after completing the acquisition. Raytheon will retain the right to license the MMIC technology for use in future applications.