Northrop Grumman Develops New Processors, SIGINT for Small UAVs


Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems has also received $41 million to develop generic Sensors Technology Automated Recognition, which could be implemented for ‘radar vision’ capability, featuring Combat Identification (CID), Ground Moving and Airborne Moving Target Indication (GMTI/AMTI). The fully integrated system will be able to utilize a multiple algorithm to perform recognition and combat identification of ground targets at tactically significant ranges. Possible applications of these capabilities could include Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) and countermeasures employment. In Intelligence, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (ISTAR) and Battle Damage Assessment role, data-fusion empowered by the new technology could improve information processing cycles, between the sensor and decision maker.

Northrop Grumman will develop a new signals intelligence (SIGINT) payload for unmanned systems under the U.S. Navy’s Warfighter’s Tactical SIGINT Resource (WTSR) program. The capabilities to be offered by WTSR will enable tactical units to benefit from sensor networks to track targets, collect and share actionable intelligence over the network, and automatically distribute SIGINT based alerts.

At present, due to the complexity and unique technical skills required from systems operators, SIGINT is managed primarily at operational and strategic levels and is not directly supporting forward echelons. The Navy’s objective is to provide small unit tactical forces with the sensing and tracking capabilities needed to conduct warfare against an asymmetric threat. The program focuses on developing new sensors; tags and taggants; and network communications that integrate unmanned vehicles and unattended ground sensors into the net-centric battlefield.

Under a three-year $5.2 million contract low-cost Northrop Grumman is developing a lightweight, plug-and-play SIGINT sensor package that requires minimal power. The sensor will be equipped with flight-tunable receivers that enable rapid re-tasking of the SIGINT payload during flight operations. The system will be designed to fly on Tier II/Class II tactical UAVs (similar to the US Army/AAI Shadow 200 UAS), operating at an altitude of 3,000 feet.