Advanced Technology and Innovation

Advanced Technology and Innovation

Defining Possible across air, on land, under the sea, and in space.

For some, the word impossible ends discussions. For us, it’s a starting point.

At Northrop Grumman, we work every day to define — and redefine — what’s possible. Our teams are constantly questioning, problem-solving and creating new ways to tackle seemingly impossible challenges. The result? A shared purpose that puts us at the forefront of innovation and technological advancements, contributing everywhere from the depths of the ocean to the mysterious expanse of space.

Defining Possible is more than the practical application of our shared purpose, it’s a promise to our team and customers that we’ll always rise to the challenge. It’s the codification of our mission to ensure that a brighter future starts right here, right now. It’s reflected in all the work we do and seen in everything we create — including autonomous underwater vehicles, digital defenses for physical assets, the world’s first stealth bomber, the most powerful telescope ever created and much more. Ultimately, our push to define the future is driven by a singular focus: accomplishing the impossible.


Solving the mysteries of the universe is impossible. Until it’s not.

At Northrop Grumman, we’re on the forefront of national security and space exploration.

Every day, Northrop Grumman is working with our partners to learn more and defend throughout the space domain, one of the most important factors in national security.

In addition to securing our world, we’ve always pioneered exploration and discovery. Our teams designed the iconic Apollo Lunar lander and were instrumental in returning the Apollo 13 crew safely home. This passion for deep space continues today with cutting-edge exploration programs such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), safety initiatives such as the Launch Abort System (LAS) and purpose-built spacecraft designed to change the way we view space exploration.

Bottom line? If it’s been to space, is already in orbit or is being built to defend and explore the great beyond, there’s a good chance Northrop Grumman was in on the ground floor

A missile launches into the air

Strengthening Missile Defense through Suborbital Target Vehicles

Detecting, identifying and defeating ballistic threats

The Antares rocket lit up before sunrise

Rocket Design Team Helps Launch New Space Opportunities

Researching and creating new rocket designs can take engineers and manufacturing teams years to test and refine.  

View of Mars from space

Water on Mars: The Deployables That Helped to Learn More about Martian H20

Thanks to innovative space deployable structures made by Astro Aerospace, we are learning more about the Red Planet every day.

man in bunny suit holding a graphic

How the MIMIC Program Catalyzed Northrop Grumman Leadership in Space

Since the dawn of the space age, Northrop Grumman has partnered with the U.S. government to define and implement many of the nation’s most challenging space mis…

A Northrop Grumman satellite in space in front of the moon

Virtual Reality Brings Engineers to the Moon

How do you go to the moon without actually going to the moon? Virtual reality (VR).

a man in a maroon lab coat looks into a telescope

Foiling Failure: the Value of Forensic Science in Aerospace Engineering

Northrop Grumman uses specialized forensic science teams in Reliability Analysis Labs to foil future failures.

A spacecraft docked to the international space station

SharkSat Scales Up to Deliver Advanced Technology Demonstration

Northrop Grumman’s SharkSat explores the potential impact of Ka-band, software-defined radio in space.

satellite recharging in space

Digital Engineering Triumph MEV Revitalizes Satellites in Space

Northrop Grumman is reimagining satellite services, creating a line of industrious spacecraft that refuel and repair satellites.

a solid rocket booster is loaded on an oversize trailer

Beyond the Boneyard

Northrop Grumman finds creative solutions to end-of-life management. From STEM education to technician training and public display, Northrop Grumman is demonstr…

People in all white clean suits in a large white room

Preparing to Launch Landsat 9

Northrop Grumman fault management engineers consider all scenarios for Landsat 9, the next satellite in a 49-year history of documenting the Earth’s surface.

rocket engine test

Rocketing Forward: Inside the Countdown to Launch

Every solid rocket motor design is a balancing act among performance, cost and complexity.

man holding cryocooler

The Coolest Technology: Cryocoolers

These machines keep sensors extremely cold so that satellites and space telescopes can take pictures on long-term missions

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover on Mars

Navigating Mars and Beyond with LN-200 Inertial Measurement Units

When NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover lands on the Red Planet in February 2021 and begins exploring the Jezero Crater for signs of microbial life, it will be…

Man in cleanroom suit working on spacecraft

Launching Solutions into Space: The Innovation Technology Paradox

space telescope with purple skies and galaxies

Navigating the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope

The team behind Northrop Grumman’s Scalable Space Inertial Reference Unit navigation system is working to make sure the Roman Space Telescope can stabilize and …


DAWN Spacecraft: Uncovering the Relics of the Early Solar System

NASA’s DAWN spacecraft, designed and built by Northrop Grumman, captured over 100,000 images of the two different proto-planets, allowing scientists to catalog …

Female engineer working on spacecraft

Cosmic Outfitters: Dressing Spacecraft for Mission Success

Before launching onto the celestial stage, Northrop Grumman experts dress spacecraft to protect it from extreme space temperatures.

Close up of the mirrors on the James Webb Space Telescope

Engineering Marvel: The JWST Mega Sunshield Takes its Shape

Imagine having to squeeze an enormous mirror and a sunshield that’s the size of a tennis court into a rocket ship. This is the reality of an intricate deploymen…

satellite above earth

A New Space Paradigm Calls for Purpose-Built Spacecraft

Northrop Grumman is accelerating the pace of new space technology development, deploying DARPA’s R3D2 with extreme speed and incredible innovation.

rocket engine laying horizontal and firing in a test scenario

High Performance Computing Will Take Us to the Far Reaches of Space

Northrop Grumman’s propulsion systems engineers use high performance computing capabilities to design the rocket boosters for NASA’s Space Launch System.

Meet R3D2 — the progenitor of purpose-built spacecraft paradigms

Three Males holding polarizers with their hands

Space solutions in a pinch: The positional pinch polarizer

test spacecraft with flames shooting out of the sides

Safety first! The Launch Abort System (LAS) helps to protect Orion astronauts as they achieve orbit.

rocket test

Todd Mott: Clearing the Smoke on Data Reduction

A New Space Paradigm Calls for Purpose-Built Spacecraft

Digital Transformation

Pioneering change with speed and precision.

Utilizing Lean-Agile methodologies, we are at the forefront of developing discriminating and innovative technologies for our customers.

At Northrop Grumman, our teams are constantly challenging the status quo with new ways to approach existing and developing capabilities. The digital thread is woven into the fabric of our organization. We are at the cutting edge of the defense industry’s digital transformation and evolution. Our user-centered digital-based capabilities provide advanced technology to stay ahead of sophisticated threats. Our priority is to ensure our warfighters have the confidence to make real-time decisions in complex environments.

a man wears a XR headset to watch a video to work on machinery (image sized for a feature tile)

The End Game: Extended Reality (XR) Transforms Platform Sustainment

Northrop Grumman uses XR to improve program performance, efficiency and affordability in delivering platform sustainment and modernization.

a woman works with a handtool in a workshop, image sized for a feature tile

Incubating and Investing Bring Innovation to Life

Finding bold new solutions to some of the biggest challenges in aerospace.

a man and woman work on laptops at a table with large computer monitors behind them

Ahead of the Curve: Scouting for Disruptive Technologies

Northrop Grumman continuously monitors new and disruptive ideas to harness new tech and ideas for customers and their missions.

unmanned aerial vehicle

RQ-4 Global Hawk Modernized Ground Segment Comes in From the Cold

Northrop Grumman’s Ground Segment Modernization Program (GSMP) contract with the Air Force is changing the way the RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft gathers intel.

An aircraft and missile fly through clouds.

Interoperability Leads to LongShot

New Unmanned Autonomous Vehicle Highlights Advanced Weapons Technology

a color gradiant representing the electromagnetic spectrum

Busting Myths about Military Technology and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Northrop Grumman busts myths about the broad range of electronic warfare techniques that can be used to detect threats, hide from threats and jam signals.

Digitized drawing of airplane on blue background

Finding a Single Source of Truth with Model-Based Systems Engineering

Know a systems engineer?  Then you know a communicator and a translator – from the world of engineering. 

Two fighter jet flying above clouds

Project MOSQUITO Has the Wings to Change How Military Aircraft Are Built

Northrop Grumman employed digital engineering and Lean-Agile development methods to get Project MOSQUITO off the ground and ensure successful project delivery.

a group of people wearing HoloLens VR headsets stand around a digital image

Revolutionizing Military Operations with Augmented Reality

Northrop Grumman engineers developed an idea for a Microsoft HoloLens 2 AR interface for the military to use to evaluate assets in the field.

illustration of concept for Future Vertical Lift

Future Vertical Lift The Agile-built Helicopter for the Modern Military

Future Vertical Lift will be the most sophisticated rotorcraft to enter military service. All systems are connected by the digital backbone, allowing the next g…

command room with monitors

Creating Force Multipliers

Northrop Grumman’s integrated digital environment is a digital engineering SaaS (Software as a Service) approach for building advanced technology.

a white woman and black man in conversation in front of a computer

Mentorship and Digital Engineering Go Hand in Hand

Northrop Grumman is invested in developing a strong foundation in digital engineering to answer requirements our customers create.

a white man stands in front of a computerized image

Digital Engineering Adopts 3D Virtual Reality Tools

Northrop Grumman engineers were early testers of 3D VR tools and have since adopted this key tool to dramatically reduce testing time and effort as well as impr…

men and women on computers in large room

Going DA/RC: A Bright Future for Battlefield Management

As a leader in digital transformation for defense, Northrop Grumman is looking to what’s next in battlefield management. The future of defense may be in a soft…

A man works with a litening pod on a factory floor

Brawn Brains and Beauty

Northrop Grumman is at the forefront of Industry 4.0. The latest industrial revolution is about leveraging four key digital technologies to optimize resources, …

missile launch through clouds

Digital Twins Facilitate Program Success

The use of digital twins is a critical element of digital transformation success as Northrop Grumman works with government and industry partners.

brown skinned man writing on a white board

Quantum 2.0: Qubits, communication and cryptography

Person dressed in lab coat, mask and head covering in a clean room environment, working with circuits.

Hiding in plain sight — the benefits of binary-based hardware defense

close-up of electronic attack pod

Turning Imaging into Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence

AI has the potential to transform every system, product and service that we produce for our customers, worldwide. We develop advanced capabilities to solve the world’s most challenging problems in space, aeronautics, maritime defense, cyberspace and intelligence. The stakes are high—and our standards for ethics and security are even higher.

a man wearing glasses sits at dual monitors and looks directly at the camera

Artificial Intelligence Helps Protect Troops in Denied GPS Environments

Northrop Grumman uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to combat threats to navigation systems using innovative software techniques.

an illustration of drones flying above city streets

Defense AI Technology: Worlds Apart From Commercial AI

three people stand in a blue room looking toward the camera

AI Ethics: Building Security and Responsibility into Intelligent Systems

Northrop Grumman is collaborating with U.S. Government organizations to determine if an AI model is sufficiently safe, secure, and ethical for DoD use.

Woman wearing mask working on a computer

Applying AI to Systems Thinking: Every Engineer Has a Story

Everyone has a story to tell, even engineers and systems they build. While there’s no surprise that it’s complex work to design intricate and integrated sys…

two men are standing, looking at computer screens

Can Artificial Intelligence Apply Gaming to Military Strategy?

silhouette of transmission towers at sunset

What’s the Frequency? An AI Algorithm Can Help with That

While chaos, disorder and panic can follow a disaster if public communication breaks down, Michelle Jin realized an AI algorithm could essentially cut through c…

blue computer lab

Startup Investments Sharpen Focus on Innovation

Northrop Grumman has partnered with Philadelphia-based startup, Deepwave Digital, a developer and provider of radio frequency and wireless systems powered by ar…

Young professional in manufacturing setting looking at a microchip and a robotic arm.

Advanced Manufacturing: Deep Learning for Electronics Inspections

Powerful robots will soon get artificial eyes and a brain. This next gen upgrade in advanced manufacturing is what engineers at Northrop Grumman are developing …

woman smiling

Looking for direction? We’ve got you.

Tucked inside modern fighter jets and smart munitions, inertial navigation systems have a suite of sensors, including accelerometers that measure linear motion and gyroscopes that measure rotation. The latest navigational technology also includes magnetometers — small but mighty instruments that measure magnetic fields. Read about the future of inertial navigation >

Military aircraft and ships still rely heavily on electronic sensors to conduct their missions, however Northrop Grumman makes multifunction sensors that operate on the electromagnetic spectrum, allowing our customers to see in all directions all the time. Read about the electromagnetic spectrum and multifunction sensors >

Advanced Manufacturing

Leading the evolution.

From the world’s first stealth bomber to autonomous undersea and aerial vehicles, Northrop Grumman has always been on the forefront of advanced manufacturing.

We’re Defining Possible by embracing the evolution of manufacturing initiatives underpinned by the expanding impact of carbon fiber 3D printing, deep learning robotics and data-driven hypersonic testing.

This ongoing shift is an outcome of us embracing Agile methodologies, and has become part of our core mission to define — and redefine — what’s possible in military aircraft and aerospace manufacturing. Just as Ford’s process revolutionized the speed and standardization of parts rolling off the line, we recognize the intrinsic and innovative value of digitally integrated solutions that can help make our manufacturing lineup stronger, faster and smarter. Allowing us to better help our customers achieve their goals.

an aircraft part created by 3d printing

Advanced Manufacturing Technology and Innovation

Northrop Grumman uses additive manufacturing to evolve the aerospace industry.

firebird with a pilot in air over sandy mountains

The Flexibility of Firebird

Firebird can switch from a manned configuration to autonomous operations in little time, giving organizations flexibility to fly different types of missions.

a man stands is bending over to inspect a very light weight torpedo

Manufacturing the Very Lightweight Torpedo

Northrop Grumman is driving the vision for a less expensive torpedo design that’s also light enough to be carried on new generations of smaller delivery platfor…

carbon nanotube

Surviving Space

Solving the biggest survivability challenges in aerospace engineering with carbon nanotubes and 3D printing

woman working on 3D printer

ESD PEKK: The Additive Acronym of Advanced Aerospace Manufacturing

black woman working with robot arm holding microchip

Double vision? Upgrading robot accuracy with digital twins and machine learning

carbon nanotube

Five Innovations Made Possible With Carbon Nanotubes

man standing in front of 3D printer

Creation combination — the future of fiber and plastic in 3D printing

man in clean suit in clean room

The Brains Behind Military Electronics

When designing high tech electronic systems for the military, standard electronic components simply won’t cut it. While many consumer goods are built on standard microchips, military systems operate on application specific integrated circuits (ASICs). Northrop Grumman engineers are responsible for designing these custom chips to ensure secure processing for the Department of Defense (DOD).

Read more

Sustainable advancements preserving our world

Environmental tech for a new future. That’s Defining Possible.

At Northrop Grumman, we’re committed to action when it comes to sustainable technological developments and renewable energy strategies.

With clear-water monitoring efforts, helping to rebuild the Chesapeake Bay oyster population, no-touch turtle tracking and autonomous vehicle ice mapping, we’re finding and exploring new ways to interact with our environment — while ensuring its sustainability for future generations.

female Northrop Grumman employee holding line in water on boat

Time for a sea-change: More oysters mean cleaner water for Chesapeake Bay

young turtle on beach

Shell game — no-touch UAS tracking helps to map turtle movements

clear water with bubbles

Aquatic Agility: Repurposing Wastewater as an Ultra-Pure Resource

For Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Technology Laboratories near Baltimore, repurposing wastewater as an ultra-pure resource takes aquatic agility.

Ready to change the world? Discover new opportunities, drive transformative development and help to define what’s possible with Northrop Grumman.

Find out about our Careers

Counter Hypersonics

History demonstrates that no weapon is invincible. Northrop Grumman, in partnership with the U.S. government and industry, can neutralize these hypersonic threats and protect our nation and its armed forces against these modern destructive weapons.

Missile intercept another Missile

Engineering a Future Safe from Hypersonic Threats

man standing in front of giant blue machine

How do You Test Hypersonic Systems?

More stories about innovation and technology

a man sitting in an office holds up a neuromorphic camera

Neuromorphic Cameras Provide a Vision of the Future

two hands under water holding cables

A Water and Electricity Pairing

sun rays piercing the ocean

Mission Unlimited: Inventing Autonomous Recharging of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles

white woman wearing make holding tweezers and small round white objects

The Sound of Future Applications for Field-Induced Forces

missile launch into blue sky

Rising to the Occasion: Northrop Grumman and the GBSD Program

woman in clean room wearing full bunny suit looking through microscope

Upgraded Radio Frequency Switch to Push Communications into the Future

A meaningful upgrade to the component responsible for guiding and shaping the radio signal, called a radio frequency switch, has lagged for decades. Until now.

Sign up now to receive updates from Northrop Grumman on our technology and innovation.