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Northrop Grumman Announces Intent To Build System Integration Laboratory In Huntsville

Illustration of the Kinetic Energy Interceptor in flight.

Huntsville AL (SPX) Oct 14, 2005
Northrop Grumman Corporation has announced it intends to locate the system integration laboratory for its Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) missile-defense program at the company┐s new Cummings Research Park complex.

The system integration laboratory will primarily serve as a software-development and integration lab to verify that KEI software meets its requirements and can interface with other systems that help to make up the nation's overarching ballistic missile defense system.

During the later stages of the KEI program, Northrop Grumman will integrate production-level computer processors into the laboratory.

"The new Northrop Grumman facility was a natural choice, given its close proximity to existing KEI software activities now underway and the work being done by the Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville to integrate the overarching ballistic missile defense system," said Craig Staresinich, vice president and KEI program manager for Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector.

"This decision will ultimately help foster cooperation, enhance efficiency and reduce integration expenses, as the KEI element begins to interface with the agency's larger system to become an integral part of our nation┐s layered capability."

The laboratory is expected to employ up to 70 engineers, including new hires and employees transferring from other Northrop Grumman sites.

KEI is a mobile, land-based missile-defense system that, when deployed, will be able to destroy a hostile threat during its boost, ascent or midcourse phase of flight. The team managing the KEI battle-management portion of the program is in Huntsville.

Huntsville-based employees also support other missile-defense programs, including providing the fire-control and communications subsystem for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System.

Northrop Grumman employs about 1,200 people in the Huntsville area, in more than 20 facilities. Most current operations will be consolidated in the new headquarters facility, which will house offices, laboratories and research and development centers.

Other Huntsville activities include developing and fielding advanced tactical command posts under the Command Post Platform program; serving as the prime contractor for Forward Area Air Defense, a command-and-control capability that helps protect ground forces against enemy aircraft while protecting friendly aircraft; and producing the Longbow missile and Viper Strike munition.

The company's major area customers include the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command; Army Aviation and Missile Command; the Army Program Executive Office for Aviation; the Army Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space; and elements of the Missile Defense Agency.

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