Press Release

Northrop Grumman Completes First Phase and Enters Second Phase of U.S. Air Force Next-Generation Polar Communications Payload

By SpaceRef Editor
December 6, 2006
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Northrop Grumman Corporation has completed Phase I of a study contract to assist the U.S. Air Force in defining a payload for next-generation polar military satellite communications.

The architecture proposed by the company’s Space Technology sector for the Enhanced Polar System (EPS) addresses the Air Force’s interest in an affordable, low-risk solution by significantly leveraging designs, flight hardware and software, procedures, testing and documentation recently developed under the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (EHF) military satellite communications payload program.

“The availability of heritage Advanced EHF payload products developed at Northrop Grumman enables an EPS communications payload solution that can be confidently built, and deployed within an abbreviated time span,” said Stuart Linsky, vice president of satellite communications for Northrop Grumman’s Space Technology sector.

The EPS will provide joint, interoperable and protected satellite communications in the northern polar region to user terminals compatible with the Advanced EHF satellite system, which is now in flight production. The new military satellite communications system would replace the current Interim Polar System, which is limited to Milstar-compatible low-data rate service.

The EPS payload, using Advanced EHF’s advanced XDR waveforms, will provide much higher data rates, extended high-gain coverage and will be interoperable with next-generation Advanced EHF-compatible sea-based, ground and airborne user terminals.

Under the six-month, $1.5 million study, Northrop Grumman completed a low risk, detailed payload architecture that provides required communications capabilities within the EPS platform’s physical constraints and schedule requirements. Products generated on the study are currently being used by the Air Force to support acquisition planning for a future payload flight development program. The Air Force’s MILSATCOM Systems Wing at the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base is leading the EPS payload study.

Northrop Grumman has also been awarded a 14-month, $8.4 million Phase II study. The company will further reduce risk to the production schedule by defining interface-specific design details, planning the seamless flight production line transition from Advanced EHF to EPS, and performing other selected tasks. “The Phase II contract will allow us to hit the ground running when we start flight production of the Polar Payload,” Linsky said.

Northrop Grumman is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With more than 120,000 employees, and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

SpaceRef staff editor.