NORTHROP GRUMMAN’S LAND FORCES DIVISION: PROVIDING SOLUTIONS FOR THE BATTLEFIELD
By Julian Nettlefold
BATTLESPACE visits Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Rolling Meadows, Ill., facility to meet Jeff Palombo, sector vice president and general manager of the company’s Land Forces Division.
A component of Northrop Grumman’s Baltimore, Md.-based Electronic Systems sector, the Land Forces Division provides a full range of warfighting solutions for the “digital battlefield.” The division produces fire control systems for airborne and tracked vehicles, sensors to detect enemy movement, and systems that defend against enemy fire. The division’s commitment to quality ensures that high value, complex, electronic and electro-optical weapons systems are mission ready.
One of several product line divisions that comprise the Electronic Systems sector, the Land Forces division is based in Rolling Meadows, near Chicago, with additional facilities in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Apopka, Fla., and Huntsville, Ala. The division employs approximately 2,000 people with annual sales of approximately $1 billion. Very few people comprehend the sheer size of the Northrop Grumman land systems business. Is it intentional that you underplay the sheer size of the business?” BATTLESPACE asked Jeff Palombo.
“The business has taken off and has a momentum of its own, given the demand for land systems to support U.S. and allied operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Palombo. “The Land Forces Division was formed in 2007 and has grown considerably to the size we are today. We have a philosophy to react quickly to the demands of irregular warfare. The speed of our reaction to these threats saves lives and gives our warfighters the equipment they deserve.
“The IED threat, in particular, is a massive problem and to understand that threat we must examine the whole process our enemy undertakes from the reason for wanting to harm our soldiers, through the actual building, fielding and detonation of the devices. It is only when we understand the whole process and have the right system solutions to seek and destroy the threat will we be able to get on top of the situation. Our aim is to be more innovative on the ground. The speed of changing threats means we don’t always have time for invention. Instead, we must oftentimes use existing capabilities to create a system to defeat the IED threat together with the right tactics and geographic environment.”
Northrop Grumman’s Land Forces Division represents the consolidation of multiple program areas from across the company’s Electronic Systems sector, each working to refine cutting edge technologies and further cultivate customer relationships. Continually working to provide the warfighter with the best possible products and solutions, Land Forces personnel are cognizant of customer requirements for tactical capabilities. With the purpose of providing a guaranteed state of readiness, the division ensures that high value, complex electronic and electro-optical sensing and weapons systems are mission ready for performance in an ever-changing environment.
“When people hear the term “land forces,” their natural thoughts are of the warfighter on the ground — soldiers and vehicles. For the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army and the Special Operations Forces, their definition of land forces consists not only of boots on the ground, but also ground vehicles and helicopter platforms. Requirements vary from service to service and demand unique approaches to how we should execute business to meet specific mission requirements.”
Here’s a glimpse at some of the key products in the Land Forces Division’s portfolio:
* In Baltimore, the division is developing and producing the new lightweight Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) for the U.S. Marine Corps’ PEO Land Systems. The G/ATOR system is designed to provide a multi-mission, ground-based radar that effectively consolidates five different leg