Joint STARS Computer Replacement Program Successfully Completes Flight Testing

Falls Church, Virginia, UNITED STATES


MELBOURNE, Fla., Sept. 5, 2000 (PRIMEZONE) -- Flight testing of Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Block 20 Computer Replacement Program (CRP) upgrade to the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) E-8C platform has been successfully completed by the U.S. Air Force.

During the testing, Northrop Grumman demonstrated the benefits of upgrading a major weapons system with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) open architecture technology. CRP work was done by the company's Airborne Ground Surveillance and Battle Management (AGS & BM) Systems business area, a unit of the Integrated Systems Sector (ISS).

The Joint STARS Block 20 engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) program accomplished all of its main objectives: minimize E-8C per-unit and life-cycle costs; significantly expand the open-architecture concept by further leveraging the latest off-the-shelf commercial technologies; and increase system performance, capabilities and capacities for cost-effective future plug-and-play and pre-planned product improvement (P3I) upgrades.

"The highly successful Computer Replacement Program configures Joint STARS to accept P3I such as the radar technology insertion program. CRP also will let us readily incorporate other battle management, command, control and surveillance missions that Joint STARS may fulfill in the future," said Alan Doshier, sector vice president for AGS & BM Systems.

During the EMD program, ISS replaced the Joint STARS aircraft's main computers, workstations and copper-based data network with leading-edge, off-the-shelf, commercially available products. "The implementation of an open-architecture concept allows the Joint STARS system to bring new capabilities to the warfighter with remarkable agility and takes advantage of rapidly improving commercial technologies," said Bud Boudreaux, vice president and Integrated Product Team leader for the Joint STARS program.

The main computers and workstations were upgraded to Alpha-based servers supplied by Compaq Corporation; the Mil-Spec radar signal processor was replaced with a General Dynamics COTS-based system; and the internal data distribution network was upgraded to a high-capacity fiber-optic network.

The first production Block 20 E-8C is scheduled for delivery in the third quarter of 2001. Fleet E-8C's operated by the 93rd Air Control Wing located at Robins AFB, Ga., will all be upgraded to the Block 20 configuration.

Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems Sector, headquartered in Dallas, Tex., is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. ISS has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management aircraft, early warning aircraft, airborne electronic warfare aircraft and air combat aircraft.

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