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Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract To Develop Shipboard Warning System

File photo: The USS Cole (pictured) was attacked in 2000 by suicide bombers equiped with a small boat loaded with high explosives.
by Staff Writers
Apopka FL (SPX) Nov 27, 2006
Northrop Grumman has received a contract from the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center and their sponsor, the Office of Naval Research, to develop an electro-optic based system intended to warn surface vessels and aircraft in violation of ship protection zones of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels at anchor or in port.

The development of the Detection and Unambiguous Warning System (DUWS) will leverage the Northrop Grumman Venom system, a gimbaled version of the company's combat-proven lightweight laser designator rangefinder.

The DUWS warning system is comprised of red and green lights mounted side-by-side on the deck of a ship. Shipboard operators aim the lights at an inbound surface or airborne intruder determined to be encroaching the ship's protection zone. The protection zone is an exclusion area around the ship established to keep potentially threatening air or surface crafts away.

When the lights are aimed at the intruding boat or aircraft, they will be seen by the encroaching craft's operator. The intruder will see a bright flashing light coming from the ship. If the threatening craft continues toward the ship, the light becomes brighter, turns red, and flashes. The message is to stay clear. If the intruder does not change course, the shipboard operators can then decide the next action.

DUWS will include additional modifications to the Venom system such as a multi-color laser warning and visual disruption component and an active optical feedback system to determine if the intruder observed the warning.

"Northrop Grumman's warning system will provide a scalable response to the intrusion of ship protection zones," said Greg Williams, general manager of the company's Laser Systems business unit. "From detection of a suspected intruder to visible warning and non-lethal discouragement, the system could aid Coast Guard and Navy personnel in the protection of the nation's harbors."

During the initial contract phase, Northrop Grumman will develop the design and performance characteristics of the DUWS system. Venom will be used as the baseline with inputs from human behavior and safety analyses to ascertain effective and safe warning levels.

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