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Northrop Grumman BAMS Global Hawk Exceeds Requirements

The value of BAMS to the U.S. Navy warfighter surrounds the use of a highly persistent, high-speed, fully mission-capable and reliable Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) that is based from five main operating bases around the world.
by Staff Writers
Bethpage NY (SPX) Mar 13, 2008
Northrop Grumman stated that its Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) proposal, pre-contract activity and risk reduction efforts demonstrate an offer that clearly brings the best value solution to the U.S. Navy. Northrop Grumman's offer is centered on four elements that demonstrate unprecedented capability and maturity for a new development program of this magnitude.

These elements are oriented around meeting or exceeding stated U.S. Navy requirements with a low-cost, low-risk solution. They are:

1) The Northrop Grumman RQ-4N (a derivative of the proven, autonomous U.S. Air Force Block 30 aircraft) meets or exceeds all of the U.S. Navy's threshold requirement performance today and more than 90% of objective requirements;

2) Northrop Grumman's execution of a robust "Head Start" program to maximize program margins and drive down risk -- more than 40 hours of flight testing on 19 flights to validate the BAMS architecture, communications, maritime sensors and the development of prototyped subsystems including commercial bandwidth management;

3) A proven, low-risk communications system successfully tested earlier for future Navy air and surface systems and currently employed by the Tactical Support Center that will provide services oriented, IP-enabled, secure, wideband connectivity with significantly greater bandwidth management than the threshold requirement; and

4) Airframe service life analyses and completed full-scale testing to ultimate loads demonstrating the RQ-4 platform is well suited to deliver an exceptionally long vehicle life well in excess of the requirement, while operating to all BAMS environments and U.S. Navy safety factors.

The value of BAMS to the U.S. Navy warfighter surrounds the use of a highly persistent, high-speed, fully mission-capable and reliable Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) that is based from five main operating bases around the world. Maximum surveillance coverage hinges on speed, altitude and sensor coverage.

"This is where our BAMS offer provides superior surveillance coverage at a lowest cost of comparable systems," said Bob Wood, Northrop Grumman BAMS business development director. "When you combine our 360-degree Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) Active Electronically Steered Array (AESA) radar with the speed and altitude regimes we operate in, we can cover hundreds of thousands of square nautical miles more of open ocean with fewer vehicles than any competitor system."

"In addition, the Navy's key performance parameter for operational effectiveness is Effective Time on Station or ETOS," continued Wood. "The Navy has a threshold requirement of 80% ETOS and objective requirement of 95% ETOS. In every analysis, Northrop Grumman's RQ-4N BAMS UAS has been evaluated in excess of the objective ETOS requirement."

Northrop Grumman's BAMS Head Start program successfully completed a series of system-level integration and development initiatives, which included: integrated mission system testing; full system simulation as hosted on a prototype mission control system and aircraft simulator; airframe modifications and testing; and completing air vehicle long lead procurements and capital investments.

"As we have stated over the past ten months, our pre-contract BAMS activities have provided substantial value for the customer today in creating maximum programmatic and technical margins which will reduce risk for the U.S. Navy," said Carl Johnson, Northrop Grumman BAMS program vice president.

"Our combat-proven, capability-based off-the-shelf offering and Head Start efforts have enabled the entire Northrop Grumman team to fully prepare for program standup to begin SDD," concluded Johnson.

The RQ-4N BAMS team includes Northrop Grumman as prime contractor and team leader, unmanned aerial vehicle supplier and developer of the MFAS AESA radar; Raytheon supplying the turreted MTS-B Multi-Spectral Targeting System; L-3 Communications providing communications integration; Raytheon supporting the Mission Control System segment; and Rolls-Royce providing the aircraft engine.

BAMS will provide the U.S. Navy with an unprecedented persistent global maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system to protect the fleet and a capability to detect, track, classify, and identify hundreds of maritime, littoral and land targets.

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Small UAV Again Surpasses Record Flight Time Using Protonex Fuel Cell
Southborough MA (SPX) Mar 13, 2008
Protonex Technology announced that the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and development partner AeroVironment have documented yet another successful, record flight on a small, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) utilizing a highly advanced fuel cell system from Protonex.

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