Modern battles begin invisibly.
The military uses the electromagnetic spectrum — essential, yet invisible — to detect, deceive and disrupt the enemy while protecting friendly forces. As enemies become more capable and threats more complex, controlling the spectrum is increasingly critical.
Northrop Grumman's capabilities in electronic warfare, full spectrum cyber and electromagnetic maneuver warfare (EMW) span all domains – land, sea, air, space, cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum.
The company has a long and successful legacy in the art and science of electronic warfare, having developed and delivered offensive and defensive systems and aircraft for more than 60 years. It also has more than three decades of experience designing and operating cyber systems.
A digital battle for the electronic warfare domain is underway, with adversaries seeking to control the spectrum and deny access. Sophisticated and agile multi-spectral weapons and electronic warfare systems are coming online in conflict zones throughout the world, creating dense, highly contested environments.
Staying ahead in this era calls for thinking beyond legacy technologies.
When it comes to development and test, an accurate model of the spectrum environment is a must. Northrop Grumman's Combat Electromagnetic Environment Simulator (CEESIM) faithfully simulates true-to-war conditions. Simulations of this quality offer the most cost-effective means of testing and validating effectiveness of sophisticated EW equipment.
Airborne Electronic Warfare
Airborne Electronic Attack
Northrop Grumman developed the nation's first electronic attack aircraft, the EA-6A Electric Intruder, and its successor, the EA-6B Prowler. Over the years, the Prowler has been operated by the Navy and the Marines, in combat zones that included Vietnam in the 1970s, Grenada and Libya in the 1980s, Kosovo and Iraq in the 1990s, and Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria during the first two decades of this century.
Today, the company provides the AEA suite for the EA-18G Growler, the newest and most capable electronic attack aircraft in the world. The AEA system allows warfighters to disrupt, deceive and deny a broad range of military electronic systems; it features wing tip pods and gun bay pallets, in addition to antennas and receivers.
Self-Protection: Infrared and Radio Frequency
Northrop Grumman has been selected to provide the B-kit for the AC/MC-130J RFCM Program. The B-kit includes the apertures, amplifiers and electronics that are critical to system performance. We are ready to support special operators with our radio frequency countermeasures suite. Our mature, cost-effective solution is based upon the architecture and building-block approach employed throughout our family of fielded electronic warfare systems.
The AN/ALQ-131(V) Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) pod and the AN/APR-39D(V)2 Radar Warning Receiver/Electronic Warfare Management System maximize survivability by improving aircrew situational awareness via interactive management of all onboard sensors and countermeasures.
In addition, Northrop Grumman was selected in November 2019 by the U.S. Air Force for a prototype project to demonstrate an internally mounted electronic warfare suite and digital radar warning receiver for the F-16 fighter aircraft. The goal of the prototype project is to provide spherical radar warning, threat identification and countermeasure capabilities to protect aircrews from modern electromagnetic spectrum threats. Northrop Grumman’s prototype solution builds upon the company’s advanced electronic warfare system architecture that is in production for multiple programs, offering protection from current and emerging threats and a growth path to even greater self-protection capabilities.
Northrop Grumman is the leader in providing optical laser-based systems that detect threats and protect aircraft – large and small fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and tilt-wing platforms – from advanced missile threats. These self-protect family of programs include Directional Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM), Common Infrared Countermeasure Systems (CIRCM) and Guardian™.
Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile
AGM-88E provides the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and Italian Air Force the latest and most advanced weapon system for engaging and destroying enemy air defenses and time-critical, mobile targets. AARGM is a supersonic, medium-range, air-launched tactical missile compatible with U.S. and allied strike aircraft, including all variants of the F/A-18, Tornado, EA-18G, F-16, EA-6B, and F-35 (external).
Naval Electronic Warfare
Northrop Grumman is helping to write an exciting new chapter in maritime EW. Drawing on a rich heritage in the design and development of EW systems and solutions stretching back 60 years – including names such as Northrop, Hallicrafters, Grumman, Litton Amecom, TRW and Westinghouse – the company is today pushing the technological boundaries to bring a new set of advanced capabilities to the warfighter. This pedigree in maritime EW is founded on a wealth of innovative research, science and technology at the leading edge of electromagnetics, advanced engineering and end-to-end systems integration experience across all subdivisions of EW.
As EW continues to shape the future battlespace, Northrop Grumman is advancing a critical capability for the U.S. Navy. The Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) protects surface ships from anti-ship missiles, providing early detection, signal analysis and threat warning. SEWIP Block 3, being developed by Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS), adds electronic attack to the SLQ-32(V) EW system, and is a cornerstone capability that will meet the urgent operational needs of the Fleet.
Maritime Information Warfare
Information warfare (IW) is a strategy for the use and management of information to pursue a competitive advantage, including both offensive and defensive operations. Getting actionable information to the warfighter in tactically-relevant time is critical to mission success. Today, in the maritime domain, critical data is collected and then analyzed later at a shore-based facility. This information is often stove-piped and difficult to access by Sailors who are fulfilling the mission while in harm's way.
As the Navy progresses toward digital data transformation to outpace emerging threats, achieving a decisive advantage will require common, open and interchangeable data formats in order to accelerate the sharing of target information. In a battlespace where data is a commodity, this commonality will be the key to unite all platforms, sensors and weapons systems creating a single environment to execute distributed and fully integrated maritime operations.
The United States is continuously engaged in Information Warfare to ensure full access and control of the EMS. A seamlessly connected maritime environment will require a thoroughly networked and digitized Navy. Twenty-first century warfare superiority is dependent on unrestrained awareness that must be achieved by establishing dominance across the EMS, including the tactical advantage of conducting effective Real Time Spectrum Operations (RTSO). Turning data into superior, actionable information at machine speed is a clear discriminator in the warfighter's decision-making process.
Multi-domain Information Warfare
The U.S. Navy conducts Information Warfare in a variety of domains. The enabler in the Surface (shipboard) domain is through the Ship's Signals Exploitation Equipment (SSEE). The future-state of this warfare capability will be through the next generation IW weapon system, “Spectral.” Spectral allows undetected real-time and secure access to cryptologic information, enabling data exchange to occur simultaneously and safely across a multitude of frequency realms. Open architecture paves the way for hardware-enabled, software-defined enhancements as well as the ability to incorporate plug-in solutions from third parties. Northrop Grumman's approach is for all essential shipboard systems, such as navigation, power and machinery controls, mission module integration, sensors and command and control, to be integrated from the construction phase at the shipyard to the theater of operations using open, interchangeable and common data formats.
Achieving Greater Offensive Capability
With the offensive capability of the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 3, the full force of Northrop Grumman's maritime electronic and information warfare suite will be used to detect, deny, deceive and defeat threats. Through greater use of non-kinetic solutions such as advanced electronic jamming, cyber operations and directed energy, a greater number of shipboard missiles may be used for power projection rather than self-defense, resulting in both greater offensive and improved defensive capacity for optimum warfighting capability.
Multi-Domain Information Warfare
The Northrop Grumman Counter Communications solutions address the detect, identify, track, and defeat aspects of the non-kinetic unmanned weapon systems kill chain. Multi-function, software defined, and fully configurable, each system can be optimized for each mission need. These products are built from Northrop Grumman subject matter expertise acquired from many years building small form factor, highly capable software defined radios for F-22 and the F-35. Our technology, similar to a commercial cell phone, maintains common hardware while applications are added and used based on operator need. By using common architectures, software, hardware, and techniques are shared without requiring unique development costs or timelines. “Pay once, then reuse.” Counter communications degrade and deny enemy networks such as adversary Command and Control (C2), Telemetry, radio controlled improvised explosive devices, and small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). As the concept of operations evolve, these systems provide the flexibility to support the driving needs.
The Counter Communications solutions detect threats by scanning the environment for potential radio frequency and identifying signals of interest through field-configurable parameters. Intelligent algorithms determine if the signal is a known threat. If confirmed, an audio and visual alarm alerts the operator. The system can be configured to respond automatically or require operator input to initiate a denial. If the system is operating in a passive mode, an operator will positively identify the threat following a detection using the multi-sensor target verification capability. Identification and tracking capabilities provide the warfighter options to interrogate the sUAS threat and determine intent before executing a defeat solution.
Protecting Land Forces
Northrop Grumman is also applying advanced EW technologies to build next-generation systems for protecting troops on the ground from device-triggered IEDs. As the prime contractor for JCREW – the Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) Electronic Warfare (JCREW) Increment 1 Block 1 – the company is providing software-programmable jammers that protect warfighters in vehicles, on patrol or in forward operating bases from RCIEDs.
JCREW systems establish a protective barrier from enemy threats while allowing blue force communications to continue. The spectrally aware, always on, counter-communications system provides 360 degrees of protection regardless of the number of threats present or inputs from external warfighters or electronic sensors threat detections.
Cyberspace, now recognized as a warfighting domain, represents an important new warfighting frontier. Cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) have converged with the use of wireless capabilities for IP-based networking. For example, instead of a kinetic effect or direct electronic attack (EA) against a hostile emitter, could we insert a cyber technique into a wireless network connected to the emitter that provides an avenue to achieve the same effect as a direct EA?
With the growing militarization of cyberspace, we must be careful that if we enable offensive capabilities we will also need to have defense capabilities as well similar to electronic protection. Within Cyberspace, there are three subdivisions similar to EW that include Defensive Cyberspace Operations, Offensive Cyberspace Operations and protection of critical network infrastructure.
From a defensive perspective, systems today may not be able to operate effectively if they are not designed with cyberspace protection. In other words, systems must be designed to be safe or “resilient” from malicious cyberspace operations. This is referred to as Cyber Resilience.
Northrop Grumman delivers trusted Cyber and intelligence services to its customers, including analysis, research, architecture design, maintenance, modification and in-service monitoring, integrated logistics support in Cyberspace operations, security accreditation and assessment. The company offers a full spectrum of cyber capabilities with built-in resilience to provide assured protection against evolving threats in the cyberspace domain.
Vision for the Future
As enemies become more capable and threats more complex, Northrop Grumman continues to leverage traditional spectrum-based and next-generation EMW innovations. Combined with its advanced Cyber, C4ISR, Autonomous and Strike expertise, the company is designing and building smarter, more agile systems and providing multi-function, affordable solutions to give our forces the decisive advantage.
Designing future-friendly systems
Sustainment costs for legacy, single-function systems can strain budgets. Obsolescence is an inevitable and sometimes costly concern.
Digital architecture has changed the equation. Electronic warfare suites can now perform multiple functions and support diverse mission sets, and components and software can be shared among a family of systems. Under this building block approach, in use now at Northrop Grumman, development costs and timelines decrease, upgrade cycles are faster and economies of scale kick in during production.
As new threats are identified, enhancements can be shared quickly throughout the product line. Often, only a software change is required to add new capabilities, minimizing the obsolescence risk and decreasing the time to field.
Digital AESAs Enabling Multifunction Systems
Aether Spy advances multifunction wideband digital Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology based on the advanced microelectronics created on the DARPA Arrays on Commercial Timescales (ACT) program. It will develop the next generation of integrated circuits that include additional processing and key design features that enable the Department of Defense trusted microelectronics strategy. The advanced devices will be fabricated and integrated into an advanced digital AESA to demonstrate a multifunction system capable of simultaneously performing multiple sensing, communication and electronic warfare functions.
In the News
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.