Northrop Launches CUTLASS, Next Generation Unmanned Ground Vehicle

cutlass

Northrop Grumman Corporation has launched CUTLASS, its latest generation unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), expanding its range of industry-leading capabilities in unmanned systems for the remote handling and surveillance of hazardous threats.

CUTLASS has been designed, developed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman in the U.K., and includes significant advances in technology and performance and a range of features that provides state-of-the-art capabilities for national security and resilience applications.

“Our CUTLASS vehicle is setting new standards in the UGV market and significantly enhancing the ability of users to handle hazardous threats safely. It is more dexterous, cost effective and, as a package, four times faster than any other UGV,” said Greg Roberts, managing director, defence and security, Northrop Grumman Information Systems Europe. “The vehicle is already in service across the U.K. and has proven itself to be robust and capable in the most demanding environments. We look forward to exploiting the potential opportunities for exporting this capability into international markets.”

CUTLASS will be on display in Northrop Grumman’s exhibit at the Counter Terror Expo, where it will also show its range of capabilities in daily live scenario-based demonstrations. The international exhibition and conference Counter Terror Expo takes place at the National Hall, Olympia, London, April 24-25.

CUTLASS offers the latest technology in a modular design, enabling the user to deal safely with the full range of hazardous threats from a distance, including the detection and disposal of explosive ordnance. Its highly versatile design means that it is capable of accommodating a wide range of payloads, sensors and tools. It carries all of the tools and sensors it needs to perform the full range of operations required for explosive ordnance disposal and other applications, avoiding the need to deploy two standard UGVs. CUTLASS saves up to 50 percent on the through-life costs when compared to owning and operating two standard UGVs.

The manipulator arm is equipped with a three-fingered, state-of-the-art gripper and has nine degrees of freedom for greater movement and agility inside limited spaces. With a specialised sensing system it provides a high level of control and dexterity to minimize damage to property and preserve forensic evidence.

Using CUTLASS, a hazardous situation can be restored to normal up to four times more quickly than with any other UGV. The combination of the speed of the wheeled platform, which can reach speeds of up to 12 kph, and the ability of CUTLASS to carry multiple tools and sensors negates the need to return to the incident control point, thus saving considerable time. The robot is able to creep along at deliberately slow speeds for delicate operations and may accelerate to high speeds to enable rapid travel. The six-wheeled design offers mobility on all types of hard and soft terrain and in all weather conditions.

Northrop Grumman’s unmanned ground vehicle business has been established in Coventry, U.K., for more than 20 years. Today, the company designs, develops and manufactures in the U.K. some of the most capable and reliable unmanned ground vehicles available, from the Wheelbarrow bomb disposal robot to the latest vehicle, CUTLASS.

Northrop Grumman has more than 2,000 unmanned ground vehicle systems in operation around the world.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cybersecurity, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.

Northrop’s SABR Gives F-16 Pilots the Big Picture

To a pilot, a radar is only as useful as the information it provides, and Northrop Grumman’s Big SAR (synthetic aperture radar) mapping for the Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) delivers the largest, sharpest radar images ever available in an F-16.

The company’s SABR has successfully demonstrated several advanced radar capabilities for the F-16, including Big SAR maps with automatic target cueing. The SABR Big SAR offers an unprecedented level of situational awareness and target identification for F-16 pilots.

“SABR’s Big SAR is high-definition radar imagery that covers a large area on the ground in a single image,” said Joseph Ensor, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting Systems Division.

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“This advance will give F-16 pilots the largest maps with the most detail that they have ever seen in the cockpit. Combined with SABR’s automatic target cueing capability, the F-16 will have targeting capabilities unmatched by any other fourth-generation fighter.”

SABR is an affordable, multifunction active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar designed specifically for F-16 retrofit. SABR provides longer detection and tracking ranges, high-resolution SAR maps for all-environment precision targeting, interleaved mode operations for greater situational awareness and greater reliability.

Northrop Grumman has nearly four decades of F-16 radar development and integration experience, and has delivered more than 6,000 fire control radars to U.S. and international air forces. The company also supplies the AESA fire control radars for the F-16 Block 60, F-22 and F-35 aircraft.

Northrop’s SABR ‘well positioned’ to clinch USAF F-16 radar upgrade effort

Northrop Grumman says that its Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) is “well positioned” to secure contracts to upgrade US Air Force and Taiwanese Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons with a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) system despite a recent loss to rival Raytheon in South Korea.

“The US Air Force and Taiwan are working hand-in-hand together,” says Joseph Ensor, Northrop’s vice president for its targeting systems division. “They’re a separate programme from what Korea did with their competition.”

 

 

 Lockheed Martin

South Korea conducted a commercial source selection for their new radar, ultimately selecting the Raytheon Advanced Combat Radar which will be integrated onto the F-16 by BAE Systems.

The USAF, meanwhile, has selected Lockheed to be its prime integrator for the combat avionics programmed extension suite (CAPES) upgrade. The service has left it up to the company to choose a new radar for the USAF’s 300 healthiest F-16s.

“I think we’re well positioned based on the technology and our offering,” Ensor says. “Nothing’s a given, we have to compete and win that programme, but I still believe we’re well positioned.

Ensor says that the USAF’s CAPES programme will be the starting point for future F-16 upgrade foreign military sales (FMS) contracts, including the Taiwan upgrade effort. “Taiwan will be one of the launch customers for this F-16 AESA upgrade,” he says.

Northrop expects that Lockheed will pick a radar for the CAPES programme in August, Ensor says.

Picking the SABR would offer many benefits for the USAF and Lockheed, Ensor says. The SABR is highly common in terms of hardware and software with radars Northrop is already building for the USAF’s fifth-generation fighter fleet comprised of Lockheed-built F-22 Raptors and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

For future upgrades, that means software developed for the Raptor’s APG-77 radar and F-35’s APG-81 system can be ported over to the SABR with only minor tweaks, Ensor says. Moreover, pilots transferring from one airframe to another would be familiar with many of the displays, company officials say.

New maritime spy drone program of the US finally getting off the ground

by Andrew Tarantola
[Gizmodo]

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The world’s oceans are massive, easily big enough to hide a whole fleet of surface ships if not carefully monitored. That’s why the Pentagon’s newest Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) platform will keep its eyes peeled for enemy carrier groups from 60,000 feet up.

The Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton does over the ocean what the RQ-4 Global Hawk does over land: continuous wide-area aerial surveillance. It’s designed to take over the role of the aging P-3 Orion, complement the Boeing P-8 Poseidon, a multimission aircraft based on the 737, and relay ISR information—specifically signal intelligence—to both carrier groups in the region and the Joint Forces Maritime Component Commander.

The Triton measures 48 feet long with a 130-foot wingspan. A single Rolls-Royce AE 3007 turbofan powers the UAS to speeds up to 375 MPH and altitudes up to 60,000 feet while toting more than 5,600 pounds of equipment. It can then remain aloft for up to 30 hours and cover some 2,000 nm. Since the Triton will face different climates and conditions than the Global Hawk, many of the MQ-4C’s have been re-engineered for naval operations. “The modifications include anti/de-ice, bird strike and lightning protection to meet planned mission profiles and a due regard radar for safe separation from other aircraft,” Capt. Jim Hoke, program manager, told Defense Tech.

The Triton’s sensor payload includes a 360-degree multifunction active sensor radar array capable of spotting surface ships and missiles, EO/IR sensors, and an automatic identification system (AIS) receiver, which allows the drone to identify and classify ships based on their transponder signals. It also includes a high-res, auto-targeting camera for video surveillance and communications equipment that will allow it to act as a line-of-sight node between two ships on either side of the horizon.

This $1.16 billion project has been in development since 2008 and debuted last June. To date, only two prototypes have been completed, though at third is nearly ready. Ground tests were scheduled to begin in late last September (so as to work out any bugs in the flight software before launching the UAS).

“Ground testing signifies our steady progress toward conducting Triton’s first flight,” said Steve Enewold, Northrop Grumman’s Triton program manager, in a press statement.

“Through numerous engine runs and checks with communications systems between the aircraft and ground controllers, we can ensure that everything is working properly before entering taxi testing as the next step in our efforts.”

And with the successful completion of those taxi tests, the MQ-4C is currently prepping for its first flight later this spring and conduct Initial Operational Test and Evaluations by 2015.

From there, a fleet of 68 MQ-4Cs stationed in Hawaii; Diego Garcia; NAS Jacksonville, Florida; Kadena Air Base, Japan; NAS Point Mugu, California; NAS Sigonella, Italy; and Andersen Air Force Base, Guam will take to the skies over international waters.