News From Washington

US Air Force Awards Harris Corp. Space-based Radar Payload Design

Harris Corp. announced that it is one of three companies awarded three-year contracts by the US Air Force to develop and demonstrate a prototype radar payload for Space-based Radar (SBR), a critical national defense program. The initial value of the contract is $8.6 M, with options that could bring it to $88 M over the three-year period of the prototype program. The final payload design, development, production and support program for all SBR spacecraft could reach $1 B by 2013 for the winning company, which will be selected at the conclusion of the prototype phase.

Under terms of the contract with the US Air Force Space and Missile System Center (SMC) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Joint Program Office, Harris will lead the three-year study of SBR's radar payload, which is being designed to meet the government's need for real-time Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DETD) information.

"We are delighted that the joint Air Force/NRO team has selected Harris to develop the key technologies needed for the SBR payload," said Bob Henry, president, Harris Government Communication Systems Division (GCSD). "The government's selection of Harris demonstrates its confidence in our ability to provide an integrated SBR payload solution that will meet the stringent requirements of our military, national security and intelligence customers for many years to come."

The Harris SBR radar payload concept includes state-of-the-art On-board Processing (OBP) technology and a large Electronically Scanned Array (ESA) that will enable each spacecraft to collect and process large amounts of data and imagery in near real time. The data collected and processed by SBR will then be used by personnel on the ground for the tracking of moving targets.

Lockheed Martin and Boeing to Partner on Kinetic Energy Interceptor

Lockheed Martin Corp. and the Boeing Co. will partner to provide the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) with a solution for the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) requirement. The two companies submitted jointly a proposal to the agency in March. Lockheed Martin will lead the team and Boeing will be the principal teammate.

Lockheed Martin has assembled the company's most experienced missile defense talent to provide the MDA with a flexible, creative approach to the Kinetic Energy Interceptor program. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas, TX, will lead the team with significant contributions from Lockheed Martin's space systems and naval surveillance systems operations. Boeing Missile Defense Systems will complement the team with its own extensive defense experience. "Lockheed Martin and Boeing will combine each company's strengths and experience in missile defense to ensure that MDA and our nation receive the best solution available for a new ground, multi-use interceptor," said Mike Trotsky, Lockheed Martin vice president of air and missile defense programs. "Together, we will provide the MDA with the most proven and affordable capabilities available today to meet the ground-based objectives and continuing into the future with a seamless transition to a sea-based capability."

The Request for Proposals (RFP) released by MDA in February calls for responses from contractors or teams with experience in weapon system integration, booster development, kill vehicle development, launcher development/integration, integration with external sensors, battle management, command, control and communications and missile production. Boeing and Lockheed Martin are world-class providers of systems and solutions in all of these areas and each company has a proven track record of successes that dates back to the earliest missile defense programs.

Harris and Raytheon to Develop Next Generation Communication System

Raytheon Co. will work with Harris Corp. in a competition to develop the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Next Generation Communication System (NEXCOM) and share in a recently awarded $21 M Rapid Preliminary Development Effort (RPDE) Harris contract. Harris estimates that the follow-on NEXCOM full-scale development program could be worth as much as $400 M by 2012.

NEXCOM will replace the FAA's existing analog communications infrastructure with a system that incorporates the latest technical advances in radio communications. The NEXCOM system will provide capability to accommodate additional sectors and services, reduce logistic costs, replace aging radios, provide data link communications capability, reduce air/ground RF interference and provide operational security. "NEXCOM will introduce the first significant operational change in the way FAA air traffic controllers communicate with pilots since VHF radio communication was established in the 1940s," said Bob Eckel, vice president, Air Traffic Management Systems. "Raytheon will leverage its extensive military communication systems integration experience and the FAA's state-of-the-art Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) to develop subsystems for NEXCOM."

NEXCOM will use Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) techniques to multiplex up to four channels of voice and data over each of the existing frequencies allocated to communications in the VHF band. In the RPDE phase, the Harris team will develop critical components of the ground infrastructure equipment used to support the integration of the NEXCOM multi-mode digital radios into the FAA's air/ground telecommunication network. In the follow-on production phase, the FAA will deploy the NEXCOM infrastructure to replace the existing analog system infrastructure. The NEXCOM production phase is currently scheduled to begin in 2005. Harris Corp., with headquarters in Melbourne, FL, will provide overall leadership of the Harris-Raytheon NEXCOM team, developing the system architecture, software design and system security.

Northrop Grumman to Provide US Air Force with Communication System

The US Air Force has selected a team that includes Northrop Grumman Corp., Modern Technologies and ARINC Inc., to provide a new global tactical combat communications system. Northrop Grumman's Information Technology (IT) sector is the primary airborne system development lead and has been developing a system that will enable a global information grid (GIG) that provides seamless, secure, near instant distribution of battle space and command and control information to war fighters, local commanders and higher commands.

Northrop Grumman estimates that work on the initial Roll-on Beyond-line-of-sight Extension (ROBE) program will total approximately $9 M over two years. This program enables rapid formation of the "Network in the Sky" that seamlessly integrates beyond-line-of-sight and line-of-sight communication networks.

Northrop Grumman IT has recently completed three successful "Network in the Sky" risk reduction demonstrations for the ROBE program. The flights demonstrated Link-16 range extension capabilities and the ability to extend the range of Link-16 by intelligently bridging beyond-line-of-sight and line-of-sight communications systems. The tests also demonstrated joint interoperability among participating Air Force, Navy and Marine units, and the capacity to use joint range extension protocol on network and satellite communications.

ROBE represents the first generation of smart relay terminals to be built and will initially be deployed on KC-135 aircraft. ROBE is a roll-on and roll-off communication pallet that provides the capability to distribute command and control, data link and situation awareness information to support network connectivity, in-theater reach back and connectivity to dispersed units. In addition, ROBE provides an interactive situational awareness display to the aircrew of the host platform, a broadcast intelligence receive capability and a modular capability to include additional tactical links and networks. ROBE will be an airborne hub of the GIG and deployable theater information grid.