28 Jan 04. A Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC)-developed system that produced a wireless “tactical Internet” on the battlefield during Operation Iraqi Freedom has been selected as the “Most Innovative U.S. Government Program” by the Institute for Defense & Government Advancement.
The system, called Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) Blue Force Tracking (BFT), bested six contenders to win the award, which was one of four presented last Wednesday at the Institute’s Network Centric Warfare 2004 conference in Washington, D.C. FBCB2-BFT is a system of ruggedized computer hardware and software that links satellites, sensors, communications devices, vehicles, aircraft and weapons in a seamless digital network. It was a star performer in Operation Iraqi Freedom, allowing joint coalition forces to conduct decisive combat operations over unprecedented distances and speeds.
Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems sector, based in Reston,
Va., is the prime contractor for the system.
“This capability provides previously inconceivable benefits to U.S. and coalition forces,” said Otto Guenther, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman’s Tactical Systems Division. “It supports joint operations and provides a clear, continuous common operating picture to soldiers and commanders, thereby enhancing maneuverability and battle command and reducing fratricide. We are honored to be part of the team receiving this award for work that so significantly benefits our troops.”
The Institute for Defense & Government Advancement established the Network Centric Warfare Awards to honor, recognize and promote initiatives in the U.S. Department of Defense, coalition governments and the defense industry that exemplify the principles of network-centric warfare and support information-age transformation. The Institute is a non-partisan information-based organization dedicated to the promotion of innovative ideas in public service and defense.
A panel representing government, industry, academia and the media judged the entries. Among those accepting the award were Col. Ray Montford, FBCB2 program manager; Tom Plavcan, deputy program manager; and Lt. Col. John Bullington, product manager, BFT, from the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command; and Col. Timothy Cherry, system manager, Force XXI, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. Mike Springman, director of battlefield digitization, and Imad Bitar, deputy director, represented Northrop Grumman Mission Systems Tactical Systems Division.