Northrop Grumman Successfully Flight Demonstrates New Mission Management Control System for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Northrop Grumman Successfully Flight Demonstrates New Mission Management
Control System for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 7, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation
(NYSE:NOC) successfully flew a RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft for the
first time using open architecture-based command and control software and
hardware developed by the company, moving the company one step closer to
offering its common Mission Management Control System (MMCS) product, which
can be implemented across various unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) to improve
mission effectiveness and reduce training requirements.

The flight demonstration was conducted last December, and was sponsored by the
U.S. Air Force's Global Hawk Program Office as part of the Ground Station
Technical Refresh contract.

The MMCS used for the demonstration was comprised of hardware and software
developed by the company's Common Mission Management System (CMMS) product
center. The MMCS is based upon an open, nonproprietary, standards-based,
scalable, common architecture and service descriptions.

"The CMMS product center is a game changer. It is a new way of thinking about
unmanned aircraft systems and their mission management and control
architectures," said Mike Leahy, director of CMMS for Northrop Grumman
Aerospace Systems. "The CMMS approach offers multiple benefits, including
savings in both acquisition, and operational and maintenance costs. This
approach eliminates stove-piped systems and simplifies training requirements."

During the flight demonstration, a Global Hawk took off under operator control
through the U.S. Air Force Launch and Recovery Element (LRE) at Edwards Air
Force Base, Calif. Once airborne, aircraft control was successfully
transferred to the MMCS located at the Global Hawk Systems Integration
Laboratory in San Diego. The aircraft was then flown through a series of
maneuvers until control was transferred back to the LRE for landing.

The Ground Station Technical Refresh contract is a stepping stone for
continued development of common UAS control systems that can be used by a
variety of unmanned platforms. Currently, each UAS requires a costly
dedicated, custom-built command and control system. By developing a common
foundation for command and control with sufficient flexibility to meet a range
of standards, CMMS will ultimately be able to support a variety of UAS

The CMMS product line is built upon standard off-the-shelf commercial hardware
and core software infrastructure that decreases the time required to develop
new unmanned control systems and enhances future technical upgrades because
the system architecture is based upon well defined industry standards.
Additionally, with the CMMS product line, pilots will be able to operate a
variety of dissimilar unmanned platforms using the same informational displays
and control features, thereby improving mission effectiveness while reducing
training requirements.

"This demonstration validates our approach to common, modular, multiplatform
mission control systems," said Doug Valenzuela, Northrop Grumman's program
manager for the Ground Station Technical Refresh program. "We were able to
reuse components from proven programs and integrate them into a common
standards-based infrastructure to establish a baseline that will meet the
requirements of multiple programs. This is truly a huge step toward meeting
the objective of a common UAS mission control solution."

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.
Please visit for more information.

CONTACT: Carissa Kwan

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