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02 May 05. The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a delivery order to adapt its Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) for use in a service-oriented environment by joint service warfighters.

The JMPS automates mission planning through the development of
common components and software that can be shared across all platforms,
including various aircraft, smart munitions and some ground vehicles.

Under the Framework 1.3/1.4 delivery order, Northrop Grumman’s
Mission Systems sector will expand JMPS to provide additional mission-planning capabilities. In addition, JMPS will migrate to a service-oriented architecture and expand its use of Web services. This evolving technology will enable JMPS to interoperate with command-and-control systems, an important feature that supports more tactical mission planning.

The Framework 1.3/1.4 delivery order, valued at $23m, was awarded under the Mission Planning Enterprise Contract (MPEC), a five-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract managed by the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.

Framework 1.3/1.4 is particularly significant to Northrop Grumman because the software forms the core underlying architecture on which software “plug-ins” that create complete mission-planning systems must conform. The Air Force plans to procure JMPS plug-ins for several additional vehicle platforms and weapon systems in addition to systems already being developed or deployed.

“Having played a major role in the development of JMPS for the past five years, Northrop Grumman is committed to helping evolve an integrated, interoperable system that will benefit mission planners used by the Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army and U.S. Special Operations Forces,” said Barry Rhine, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Mission System’s defense mission system business unit.

Northrop Grumman developed Frameworks 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2 on previous Navy, Air Force and Army contracts. JMPS is now being used as the development platform by more than a dozen mission-planning systems for aircraft mission planning environments including the F/A-18 and F-15.

Northrop Grumman is teamed with Boeing Integrated Defense Systems on the delivery order. Work will be performed at the Northrop Grumman location in San Pedro, Calif., and Boeing facilities in Wichita, Kans., and St. Louis, Mo.

Northrop Grumman and four additional contractors were selected for the MPEC umbrella contract, which has an overall ceiling of $2bn. The Air Force said the MPEC contract streamlines mission planning acquisition efforts by consolidating 23 mission-planning contracts into one, saving time and money while also ensuring system interoperability.

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