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By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE

19 Jun 07. Northrop Grumman gave an update about its Broad Area Maritime Surveillance(BAMS)system to journalists at Paris. The Northrop BAMS team consists of Aurora, L-3, Vought, Sierra Nevada and Northrop’s Baltimore sensor facility.

The offering is based on the Northrop RQ-4N Global Hawk air vehicle based on its Block 20 design with which it is interoperable and shares the same operations facility. For ‘out of area operations, the system is controlled by a portable laptop-based system. The vehicle is equipped with three sensor suites, a Night Hunter EO/IR system, a Northrop Grumman multi-function AESA 360 degree SAR radar which is undergoing development and trials and an ESM suite. The system has an IFF function and two common data links including KU and X-Band links, Inmarsat and VHF/UHF links and Auto-ID facilities. The first Risk-Reduction airframe is being built and one system for the Programme. The key date for a decision is Fiscal 08 with a down-select in early October with an IOC of 2013. The demonstration aircraft will fly in 2010.

BAMS will supply the U.S. Navy with a persistent 24/7global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system to protect the fleet and provide a capability to detect, track, classify, and identify maritime, littoral and land targets.

Northrop Grumman has successfully completed the first phase of system-level flight testing for its Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) Head Start risk reduction effort. The program used Northrop Grumman’s Gulfstream II (G-II) test bed aircraft to validate how an Internet Protocol (IP)-based wireless network can be used effectively to transfer data from an unmanned aircraft to a prototype Mission Control Station (MCS) located in Hollywood, Md.

The testing validated the addressed network management of IP-based publish-and-subscribe architecture using multiple narrow band communications links. The Advanced Mission Management System (AMMS),central to the Northrop Grumman BAMS offer, demonstrated the open architecture of the hardware and software by being able to quickly incorporate the functions necessary to support these test flights.

“The team successfully exercised the open nature of the AMMS to host new and pre-existing software by effectively using an IP-based communications solution to link payloads with the Navy’s information network as represented by our prototype ground segment in Maryland,” said Bill Beck, Northrop Grumman BAMS Head Start program manager. “This validates the benefits of the Navy’s mandate to use open system architecture principles to reduce system development costs.”

During both test flights, the AMMS prototype installed on the G-II aircraft received real-time Automatic Identification System track data from ship traffic in the Pacific and transmitted it through two independent narrow-band communications links (UHF and L-band) to a local ground station. This data was then sent in near-real-time via the Internet to the prototype MCS, where the data was integrated on an unclassified global command and control system display.

During a second series of test flights in July and August, Northrop Grumman will continue to mature its Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, incorporate a dual Common Data Link (CDL) system, and incorporate a network and bandwidth management system emulating an Automated Digital Network System router to downlink data to the MCS.

“In preparation for these flights, the test hardware and software undergo integration testing in the Global Hawk System Center using the same management processes that will be used during the System Design Development (SDD) program,” said Matt Shihadeh, Head Start Flight Test program manager. “The prototype radar and dual CDL links have performed well in the lab and are being moved to Mojave,
California, for installation o

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