Joint Multi-mission Expeditionary Craft (JMEC)

Northrop Grumman Corporation is developing a scalable command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) system for high-speed boats that operate anywhere from high-seas to the most challenging inland waterways. Such vessels are used by nations’ police, homeland security, coastal protection and military services.

The Scalable C4ISR system is designed to ensure that each crew can pull actionable, real-time information they need from their larger network and supply information they gather up the chain of command and to other units in their networks in order to protect their communities, their nation and its interests. The system scaled to the size of a craft and its mission.

Scalable C4ISR is a logical extension of Northrop Grumman’s decades of success in designing C4ISR systems for aircraft, both manned and unmanned, ships and other platforms.

Northrop Grumman’s Scalable C4ISR has been demonstrated. The company worked with Aluminum Chambered Boats Inc. (ACB) in Bellingham, Wash., to build a riverine craft technology demonstrator, called the Joint Multimission Expeditionary Craft (JMEC), that integrated Northrop Grumman's leading-edge navigation, surveillance, network and command and control systems onboard an innovative, ACB-designed riverine-class hullform.

For the demonstrator, Northrop Grumman designed a suite of network-centric warfare mission systems integrated with onboard and offboard systems-of-systems and command-and-control architecture. These included integrated electro-optical/infrared and radar sensors with a 360-degree field of view; a remote weapon system, VHF/UHF radios with Internet Protocol capability (and provisions for growth for other radios); a wireless intercom system with active noise cancellation; common operator workstations with 17-inch color displays that have night vision compatibility and selectable crew station functions and weaponry. A customer would adapt the suite to match its needs and the architecture of its command and control network.

The JMEC demonstrator was first put in the water in mid-2007. Since then, hundreds of officials from a wide range of agencies have ridden the craft to experience its capabilities during demonstrations held across the United States.

ACB's demonstrator hullform design is 41 feet long with a 9-foot-11-inch beam and a draft of only 28 inches. Powered by two Cummins QSC 8.3-liter, 540 HP turbocharged diesel engines, the Joint Multimission Expeditionary Craft has a top speed of over 40 knots. With a crew of two to three, the new boat has shock seating for a third crew member with optional networked laptop station plus fold-down seating for two additional crew and, depending on the mission, can also ferry a 14-member combat team or various cargoes up rivers or streams.

Ultimately, it is the nature of a nation’s mission that will determine how best to employ Northrop Grumman’s Scalable C4ISR technology.