Northrop Grumman Space and Missions Systems Corporation, San Jose, California, recently received two MQ-9 Reaper awards. The first is a contract valued at more than $23 million, which provides for the design and build of a pod-mounted prototype for the MQ-9 platform. The second is a contract modification, for which more than $5 million has been obligated. Under the modification, Northrop Grumman will provide for a prototype sensor for the MQ-9 installed in a pod to support a limited flight demonstration of the Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload-2 functionally. The contractor shall support the General Atomics effort to certify the pod for airworthiness on the MQ-9. Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.
APSCO Incorporated, Columbia City, Indiana, is being awarded a nearly $27 million contract modification for 4,999 AN/SSQ-101A sonobuoys in support of Navy antisubmarine forces for the mission of detection, classification and localization of adversary submarines during peacetime and combat operations. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
The U.S. Defense Department is focusing on protecting information rather than on the network that carries it. The department is developing "a black core with a transport mechanism" to secure vital information, according to Dr. Ronald Jost.
Warfighters in the field are exploring new uses for commercial technologies and capabilities. Activities such as chat, web portal access and texting are driving development of new systems and improved capabilities.
Two of the most stubborn hurdles to effective defense networking are security and interoperability, and the two may be linked. Brig. Andy Bristow offered his own assessment of a connection between the two at the Tuesday MILCOM 2010 luncheon address.
Warfighters and emergency responders are using the same unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies for rapid area surveillance. This capability goes beyond mere direct downlinks, as the airborne craft are able to transmit data that can be reprocessed and distributed to users in near real time.