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Northrop Grumman Awarded UAS Common Architecture Working Group Contract

by Staff Writers
San Diego CA (SPX) Feb 23, 2011
The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $3.3 million contract to participate in the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Control Segment (UCS) Architecture Working Group (UCSWG). Sponsored by the Unmanned Warfare Office of the Office Secretary of Defense (OSD), the UCSWG will provide increased UAS command and control capability to the warfighter at lower cost by using an open system architecture approach across the UAS enterprise.

The UCSWG is an open technical standards committee consisting of industry and government representatives from each UAS program of record, several emerging UAS programs and small businesses. The objective of the UCSWG effort is to define a common UAS control station architecture based on standard data models and service interface definitions to enable interoperability, scalability and adaptability of UAS ground stations.

"Northrop Grumman has supported the UCS architecture development process with our more than 60 years' experience in unmanned systems and looks forward to the deeper level of involvement this contract enables," said Dr. Mike Leahy, common mission management system (CMMS) program manager for the company's Aerospace Systems sector.

"The UCS contract will be fully integrated into our broader efforts to increase the level of interoperability and commonality across all our UAS programs."

The CMMS program provides the business and technical governance for Northrop Grumman's UAS mission management and control systems capabilities, and works closely with the UCSWG to ensure the evolving UCS architecture meets UAS customer requirements for the U.S. Navy's MQ-4C Broad Area Maritime Surveillance UAS and MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical UAS programs.

"By supporting development of a common UCS architecture and leveraging the efforts of ongoing UAS command and control programs, we can converge on a common set of open architecture standards" said Kerry Fisherkeller, Northrop Grumman UCS program manager.

"This will allow for lower cost integration of ground control station (GCS) applications and provide enhanced battlefield awareness and greater interoperability of GCS control functions for warfighter collaboration."

Northrop Grumman's leadership in secure, open system architectures development is aligned with initiatives by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (OUSD AT and L) to obtain greater efficiency in defense spending for warfighting systems and increase the buying power of the DOD acquisition community.

"OSD is pleased to support the UAS Control Segment Architecture Working Group, and recognizes and appreciates the support provided by the UAS industry community, including Northrop Grumman," said Rich Ernst, architect lead for OUSD AT and L.

"Our goal is to increase opportunities to engage with industry to reduce acquisition costs, and meet the goals of Dr. [Ashton] Carter's defense spending efficiency initiatives." Ultimately for the warfighter, the UCS open architecture approach provides a path for near-term incremental capability improvements and addresses OSD's long range UAS goals to improve the efficiency, interoperability and scalability needs of the growing UAS force capability.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit for more information.

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