Northrop Grumman Corporation provided ground command and launch equipment (CLE) software for a successful flight test of a prototype booster for the ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) program. The launch took place last month from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
This was the first flight test of one of two boosters developed for the GMD program and of the Northrop Grumman Information Technology (IT)-developed CLE software that controls the booster launch. The test successfully demonstrated the capabilities of both the booster and the ground launch system.
This test is one of a series to incrementally evaluate the capabilities of the GMD system, which is designed to protect the United States against attack by ballistic missiles. Additional flight and ground tests will be conducted to demonstrate the GMD program's readiness to support initial defensive operations and the ballistic missile defense test bed by September 2004.
``We are pleased with our software's performance and its contribution to a successful flight test,'' said Christine Reynolds, vice president, C3I Systems, Northrop Grumman IT. ``Reliable command and control is essential to the GMD program and we look forward to providing our command and control technologies to GMD and other missile defense programs.''
As the GMD prime contractor, The Boeing Co. selected Northrop Grumman IT's CLE software to plan the intercept trajectory, command the booster and monitor its status. The software communicates with the booster during prelaunch checkout until the time it commands the booster to launch. Northrop Grumman IT developed the software using defined, repeatable processes to ensure that this critical GMD component exhibited the required reliability and quality.
Northrop Grumman IT developed the software on a highly accelerated schedule while maintaining the company's high quality standards. The software was delivered in one-half the time of the shortest possible schedule predicted by standard software models.
``We have set a new standard in software delivery schedules,'' said Barry Rhine, president, Defense Mission Systems, Northrop Grumman IT. ``Our ability to rapidly deliver quality software contributed to the GMD flight test's success. We are applying the lessons learned from this program to other software development programs at Northrop Grumman.''
In addition to the CLE software development, Northrop Grumman provides the GMD fire control/communications from the company's Mission Systems sector, the canister for one of the two types of interceptors from the company's Electronic Systems sector, and systems engineering and simulation development support are also from Northrop Grumman IT. This end-to-end system simulation is used to evaluate GMD performance under potential attack scenarios.
Work on the program is performed at Northrop Grumman locations in Huntsville, Ala; Anaheim, San Pedro and Sunnyvale, Calif.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Crystal City, Va.
Northrop Grumman's Role in Missile Defense
From detection, to tracking, to engagement, Northrop Grumman is bringing its entire suite of expertise in systems integration, high-tech weaponry, and domain knowledge to bear on the challenge of a layered missile defense capability. The full spectrum of programs includes prime contractor roles for the Defense Support Program satellite; the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS); the Joint National Integration Center, the Joint Tactical Ground Station and the Liquid Booster target program. Northrop Grumman is also heading teams pursuing MDA's Kinetic Energy Interceptors program and the Targets and Countermeasures prime program, and playing a leading role developing and upgrading the Aegis platform.
As a leader in chemical lasers, Northrop Grumman is developing the high-power chemical laser component of the MDA's Airborne Laser program and is the U.S. Army's prime contractor for the Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser. Northrop Grumman also provides payloads and mission processing for SBIRS-High and STSS, support services and active/passive sensor technology directly to MDA.
Northrop Grumman Information Technology, headquartered in Herndon, Va., is a trusted IT leader and premier provider of advanced IT solutions, engineering and business services for government and commercial clients. The company's expertise spans such areas as information systems integration; information technology security; command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR); enterprise hardware and software solutions; training and simulation; base and range support; signals intelligence; health informatics; space systems; and specialized scientific, engineering and technical services.