A WORLD LEADER IN UAV TECHNOLOGY
By Julian Nettlefold
BATTLESPACE visits Northrop Grumman’s UAV facility in San Diego, California, USA.
The first of a two part feature of Northrop’s UAV capabilities. This feature deals with air vehicles, the next feature due to be published in October for AUSA will deal with payloads and technology
“We are currently number three in the defense contractor pecking order after Lockheed Martin and Boeing,” Rick Ludwig told the Editor.
This position is justified by Northrop’s latest figures which show a turnover of $32bn, employing 120,000 people in six Divisions located in 50 U.S. States and 25 countries worldwide.
The six Divisions comprise:
Mission Systems, with a current turnover of $6.6bn. Activities include Command & Control systems, digitization and missile technology.
Space Technology, with a current turnover of $3.1bn. Activities include satellite systems and directed energy weapons.
Information Technology (the former Logicon Group), with a current turnover of $4.5bn. Activities include Federal IT Services and IT Support for Northrop Grumman.
Technical Services, with a current turnover of $2.1bn. Activities include Life cycle support for Northrop and other contractors’ Programmes.
Electronic Systems, with a current turnover of $6.7bn. Activities include radar systems previously handled under the Westinghouse banner and a variety of sensor systems.
Shipbuilding, which now combines the Ingalls and Newport News Yards, with a current turnover of $5.8bn. Activities include fabrication of all nuclear aircraft carriers, 50% of nuclear submarine work and non-nuclear LPD-17 ships and Coastguard cutters.
Integrated Systems, with a current turnover of $5.1bn. Activities include B-2 Bomber Support, J-Stars Support, MP-RTIP radars, Unmanned Systems, E-2D AEW&C aircraft, Tanker operations, Decision Support, Targeting and Mission Planning Systems.
“Given the number of strategic wins by your segment in the past year, is Integrated Systems becoming the power house of Northrop’s growth?” The Editor asked.
“Obviously we would say yes, but our recent wins show how Integrated Systems has become the centre of excellence for unmanned vehicles in the USA and the world. Our management has a stated aim of taking Northrop to the number two of defense contractors and our recent successes certainly show that this can be achieved.”
“We have grown the business considerably over the past two years and now have five buildings alone on this site, whereas two years ago, when you first considered a visit, there were two employing 800 people where we now employ 1800.” Ludwig continued.
Integrated Systems has eight main manufacturing plants:
El Segundo, California, dealing with FA/18 fuselage fabrication and components, Centre of Technology Excellence, ‘Skunk Works’ dealing with advanced technologies and University liaison.
Palmdale, California, the centre of B2 Support as well as Global Hawk and UCAS production. Each B2 comes in every seven years to be stripped and reset with a new stealth skin;
Moss Point, Mississippi., fabrication of Fire Scout and the Global Hawk fuselage.
St. Augustine, Florida, E-2D Hawkeye production;
Lake Charles, Louisiana, J-Stars support;
Bethpage, New York, E2-D Support and BAMS centre;
Melbourne, Florida, J-Stars and tanker centre;
Rancho Bernardo, California, Global Hawk, UCAS, Fire Scout and Targets Development Centre.
Northrop has developed six CWIN linked laboratories able to perform modelling and simulation to develop new products and analyse existing systems. These are based in Melbourne, Rancho Bernardo, Washington D.C., Moss Point and Bethpage.
The company also has facilities at Edwards and Beale AFBs, California, where the hub of Global Hawk operations reside and Pax River, Maryland and PT Mugu, California which tests systems for five customers, UCAS, Fire Scout, Global Hawk, Targets, and E-2.
“How did Northrop Grumman de