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Next-Generation Enhanced Polar System Plan Advances

By | December 11, 2006

      <B>Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC] announced progress in helping to define the payload for the Enhanced Polar System (EPS), which is the next- generation polar military satellite communications asset.

      Northrop Grumman completed Phase I of a study contract to assist the U.S. Air Force in defining the payload.

      The proposed architecture responds to an Air Force interest in an affordable, low-risk solution by significantly leveraging designs, flight hardware and software, procedures, testing and documentation recently developed under the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (EHF) military satellite communications payload program.

      “The availability of heritage Advanced EHF payload products developed at Northrop Grumman enables an EPS communications payload solution that can be confidently built, and deployed within an abbreviated time span,” said Stuart Linsky, vice president of satellite communications for the Northrop Grumman Space Technology sector.

      EPS will provide joint, interoperable and protected satellite communications in the northern polar region to user terminals compatible with the Advanced EHF satellite system, which is now in flight production.

      The new military satellite communications system would replace the current Interim Polar System, which is limited to Milstar-compatible low-data-rate service.

      That EPS payload, using advanced XDR waveforms from the Advanced EHF, will provide much higher data rates, extended high-gain coverage and will be interoperable with next- generation Advanced EHF-compatible sea-based, ground and airborne user terminals.

      Under the six-month, $1.5 million study, Northrop Grumman completed a low risk, detailed payload architecture that provides required communications capabilities within the EPS platform’s physical constraints and schedule requirements. Products generated in the study are currently being used by the Air Force to support acquisition planning for a future payload flight development program. The Air Force’s MILSATCOM Systems Wing at the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base is leading the EPS payload study.

      Northrop Grumman also has been awarded a 14-month, $8.4 million Phase II study. The company will reduce risk further to the production schedule by defining interface-specific design details, planning the seamless flight production line transition from Advanced EHF to EPS, and performing other selected tasks. “The Phase II contract will allow us to hit the ground running when we start flight production of the Polar Payload,” Linsky said.

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