The first E-6B Mercury aircraft has been successfully delivered back to the US Navy after improvements to aircraft command, control, and communications functions.
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The modernisation upgrades were completed by Northrop Grumman as part of the integrated modification and maintenance contract for the US Navy awarded in February 2022.
Northrop Grumman will continue to perform modifications to the Navy’s E-6B aircraft and establish a consolidated production line for core modifications required under the $111 million contract.
Scott Pfeiffer, Northrop Grumman platform sustainment and mission readiness vice-president, said a second aircraft has already arrived in Lake Charles, and capability upgrades, integrations, and tests on the aircraft are underway.
“Northrop Grumman is leveraging cutting-edge technology in modernisation, supporting the Navy’s mission to provide survivable, reliable, and endurable airborne command, control and communications between the National Command Authority and US strategic and non-strategic forces for persistent mission readiness,” he said.
The E-6B Mercury is a communications relay and strategic airborne command post aircraft derived from the commercial 707. The E-6B is part of the Take Charge and Move Out strategic communications mission by transmitting and receiving secure and non-secure voice and data information.
The aircraft also provides airborne command, control and communications in support of the president, secretary of defense and United States Strategic Command.