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02 May 14. Northrop Grumman Corporation has designed, developed, integrated and fielded a Mode S upgrade to the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator for the Sentry E-3D Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet based at Royal Air Force Waddington.
The IFF interrogator is a sophisticated airborne defence system that provides a long-range, rapid early warning and detection capability, allowing discrimination between friendly and hostile aircraft. The Mode S system enables the aircraft to be used in controlled airspace.
The work was performed at Royal Air Force Waddington under Northrop Grumman’s existing Sentry E-3D Whole Life Support Programme (WLSP), and is the most complex of a series of modifications the company has carried out to date for the Sentry aircraft fleet. Northrop Grumman delivers the WLSP for the Sentry E-3D AWACS fleet and is on contract until 2025. The company is the design organisation, providing long term U.K.-based technical support to the programme. Working in partnership with the Air ISTAR Programme Team, Northrop Grumman provides a wide range of through-life services needed to support the Sentry E-3D AWACS aircraft. Northrop Grumman also provides the radar and in-service support for the radar. Members of Northrop Grumman’s Joint Sentry Support Team include BAE Systems and AAR.
06 May 14. The future of ISR operations will increasingly rely on international participation, according to the head of the Air Force’s ISR Agency. “How can we not be multinational in the future? We’re not going to fight alone again. I’m convinced of that,” Maj. Gen. Jack Shanahan said. “The momentum is building.” Shanahan spoke Tuesday at the C4ISR and Networks Conference outside Washington, D.C. He spoke on how the international community could create a modern-day version of the ‘thousand-ship Navy’ concept from the mid-2000s, which relied on the idea of drawing a number of international partners together and pooling resources. “I haven’t heard that phrase in a long time, but if you think about a 1,000-RPA [remotely piloted aircraft] ISR environment, it’s how we put this all together and train together so we’re prepared to operate together,” Shanahan said. “Most of these other countries have not invested the amount they would all, as militaries, have liked to invest in ISR. They see the importance of it,” he added, citing the UK, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Italy as partners all working with US forces on ISR issues. “And every place I have gone, there’s an excitement about how we work together on ISR.” It’s not simply an issue of sharing hardware. As head of the service’s ISR Agency, Shanahan has put a priority on increasing the human intelligence capabilities of the Air Force, which he worries has atrophied due to the daily intelligence grind in Afghanistan and Iraq. Working with coalition partners would help bring another level of human intelligence to the scene, particularly as the US continues to shift its focus toward the Pacific. “Who knows more about the [Pacific] theater than some of the partners we work with every single day,” Shanahan asked. “The culture, the capabilities of some of the other threats they’re facing, they have access we don’t have and probably vice versa.” He acknowledged the challenge of sharing potentially classified information with partners, but indicated that the service is finding ways to work through that. In order to make those partnerships work, the service needs to maintain its commitment to large-scale training exercises such as Red Flag. “If we don’t train in the environment with our coalition and international partners, we’re not going to get it right on Day 1, Day 2 or Day 10. We have to train that way,” Shanahan said.
However, those exercises are often the first to fall when budgets tighten. The sequestration budg