Northrop Grumman has initiated the development and fielding a gatewayONE prototype, an open system enabling translation and communication across platforms, to support the shift to a fifth-generation fighting force.
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Under the contract, awarded by the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s C3I & Networks Directorate, Northrop Grumman is providing engineering, management and technical assistance for the Air Force’s integration of net-centric fifth-to-fifth generation aircraft communications capabilities and other platforms into a modular, open-architecture gateway.
Testing of a flight-representative configuration will be conducted in a systems integration laboratory, on the ground, and in the air based on the four-month operational demonstration pace envisioned by the Air Force Acquisition Lead, Dr Will Roper and the Department of the Air Force Chief Architect, Preston Dunlap.
Roshan Roeder, vice president, communications, airborne sensors and networks division at Northrop Grumman, said, “We’re constantly advancing capabilities in networking and communications focused on large-scale modular, open architecture systems-of-systems solutions.
“We are working closely with the Air Force to design and deliver to the field, advanced communications systems quickly and affordably.”
Work performed under this program will directly support live demonstrations of the Air Force’s developing Advanced Battle Management family of Systems (ABMS).
This capability could be used to network together the types of aircraft being developed through the Air Force’s Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology initiative.
Northrop Grumman will integrate this capability — using its proven Freedom radio product line that can connect fifth-to-fifth generation aircraft of a single type as well as fifth generation to fourth generation platforms — and via ABMS extend this to enable multiple fifth generation platform types to share and integrate data, helping make interoperability a reality.
Freedom multifunction, software-defined radios are the heart of the F-22 integrated avionics suite and F-35 communications, navigation and identification system.
Building upon investments, the company is developing affordable variants customised to fit multiple platforms.