08 Sep 04. A Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC – News)/ Raytheon (NYSE:RTN – News) team has successfully integrated and tested a laboratory-based prototype of the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion
(MP-RTIP) radar planned for deployment on the U.S. Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial reconnaissance and E-10A battle-management platforms.The prototype radar provides a key risk-reduction tool for the MP-RTIP team. It has allowed the two companies to identify and resolve technical integration issues long before starting production and integration of actual flight hardware. The single-string radar developmental testing culminated in a demonstration of the MP-RTIP capability on July 30.
MP-RTIP is a family of modular, active, electronically scanned array radar systems that will dramatically improve the Air Force’s ability to detect, track and identify stationary and moving vehicles, and low-flying cruise missiles. Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are jointly developing and producing the MP-RTIP radars for the Air Force’s Electronic Systems Center under a six-year, $888m system development and demonstration contract awarded in April.Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems sector serves as the Air Force’s MP-RTIP prime contractor, while the company’s Electronic Systems sector and Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems unit share the radar development and production work.
“This demonstration proves that the team’s fundamental processes for producing and integrating this new radar system are correct,” said Dave Mazur, Northrop Grumman’s MP-RTIP program manager. “It not only raises our confidence in the way we build and test the first MP-RTIP units for Global Hawk, but also provides critical insight into the processes we’ll use to integrate and test the E-10A MP-RTIP units in the future.” According to Tom Bradley, Raytheon’s MP-RTIP program manager, the single-string radar demonstration also validated the MP-RTIP program’s decision to divide the radar development and integration work between two companies. “Our success integrating radar components produced in different development and manufacturing environments with critical mission software reflects the strong collaborative spirit and commitment to success that drives the Northrop Grumman/Raytheon MP-RTIP team,” he said.Functionally, the single-string radar is a prototype Global Hawk MP-RTIP radar. Its name is derived from the fact that it contains only the functional elements of the radar required to demonstrate critical integration techniques and to operate it in a few select test modes. For example, it contains critical MP-RTIP hardware such as receivers, exciters and antenna elements, but uses laboratory-based systems, such as power supplies, for many of its “support” components.
As configured, the single-string radar contains two of MP-RTIP’s primary air moving target indicator (air-to-air) tracking modes.For the single-string test program, the MP-RTIP antenna elements were produced, assembled and tested at a Northrop Grumman’s facility in Norwalk, Conn. The complete radar was then installed in a Raytheon high-rise facility near Los Angeles International Airport. The radar antenna was positioned behind a flat, window-replacing radome pointing out at a series of passive and active ‘targets’ installed on a second Raytheon facility about one mile away. Over the course of several months, the Northrop Grumman/Raytheon engineering test team actively operated the radar by transmitting radar signals to the targets, measuring signal strength at the targets, and measuring the strength of the reflected signals received by the antenna.
“The single-string radar test program produced a strong vote of confidence for the MP-RTIP radar design,” said Russ Conklin, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems’ MP-RTIP program manager. “In terms of its beam width, beam steering characteristics, transmit power, receiver sensitivity and antenna gain, the