Technology On Target

Exploring a Battlefield Groundbreaker

Barrel with smoke after firing NG’s advanced ammunition, used against ground, air and naval targets.

By Wendy Siamon

Northrop Grumman is pioneering transformative change when it comes to the evolution of ammunition. Recent years have seen the accelerated rise of drones and other new technologies that are faster, more agile and harder to hit than the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that were a primary concern in Afghanistan and Iraq. In response to emerging threats, we have invested in the development of advanced ammunition equipped with sensors to “see” a target and programming to control movement with next-level accuracy.

Leveraging the powerful combination of electronic sensing and trajectory programming means guided technology is able to achieve “one bullet, one hit” precision and is also protected from the impact of weather, weapon alignment and other conditions that can affect accuracy and performance. This smart technology mitigates frustration, uncertainty and environmental factors, helping warfighters to see further and react to threats in real-time.

Ingenuity in Action

For targets that are obstructed or hidden from view, ammunition can be programmed prior to launch to burst at a specific distance. After being fired, the projectile counts its revolutions while flying and knows when it reaches the right spot to burst in front of, above or beyond a target.

“New advanced ammunition is transforming the battlefield with accuracy and performance capabilities that’s unmatched. Intelligent, guided technology means that our armed forces are able to extend the distance between themselves and harm’s way,” said Rylan Harris, director of business development for Northrop Grumman’s Armament Systems business unit. “Previously, armed forces using ammunition only had one option: shoot and keep shooting until the target is gone,” he said.

The conventional approach requires as much ammunition as it takes to achieve the desired result, and warfighters have to be close enough to reach the target within the effective range of the weapon in use. Adding guided precision allows troops to address threats from further away, using fewer rounds — saving resources and protecting warfighters.

Legacy of Innovation

Our work in advanced ammunition extends the value of investments already made by our armed forces. Platforms in use by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army and U.S. Navy are equipped with the cannons used to fire conventional munitions, and because advanced ammunition uses the same cannons, enormous cost savings are realized by extending their capacity to perform.

The legacy of innovation and partnership that keeps Northrop Grumman at the forefront of advanced weapons development is underpinned by a greater calling. Rylan still recalls a tradeshow 10 years ago when a U.S. Army soldier stopped by the Northrop Grumman booth to share how our technology had saved his team in Afghanistan when they were pinned down and out of options.

“Knowing that what we do means bringing our warfighters safely home is all it takes to get me up each and every day to come to work,” said Rylan.

Visit Advanced Ammunition to learn more about how Northrop Grumman is defining possible on the battlefield of today and tomorrow, and explore what life is like as a part of our team.

Knowing that what we do means bringing our warfighters safely home is all it takes to get me up each and every day to come to work. 
Rylan Harris
Director of Business Development for Northrop Grumman’s Armament Systems business Unit

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