Multifunction Sensors

Our multifunction and digital technologies accelerate mission system capabilities to stay ahead of ever-evolving threats.

Enabling Decision Superiority

Northrop Grumman is an industry leader on the forefront of the design, development and deployment of some of the world’s most cutting-edge sensors and systems. Our hardware-defined, software-enabled sensors enable us to quickly field advanced software and capability updates to stay ahead of threats. Our multifunction sensors ensure warfighters have netted all-domain awareness to enable decision superiority, no matter the environment.

Sophisticated Multifunction Sensors - infographic

Integrated Multifunction Mission Systems

Imagine detecting the precise location of adversary forces and their specific mission threat long before they ever detect you. Or better yet, disrupting, denying or degrading an adversary’s system without them even knowing it’s happening. In such an environment, your freedom to navigate is untouched while your adversary’s is denied, degraded or destroyed. This creates an overwhelming decisive advantage in every domain, no matter the threat.

Our wideband digital apertures integrate radar, signal intelligence (SIGINT), electronic warfare (EW) and communications capabilities and have proven control and resource management algorithms needed to field hardware-defined and software-enabled systems. Our advanced multifunction sensors seamlessly integrate core functions like resilient/secure communications, jam resistant radar, electronic attack and high gain passive sensing necessary for the successful operation of any platform.

Learn more > Sophisticated Multifunction Sensors Infographic
Multifunction infographic

What is a Multifunction Sensor?

A multifunction sensor, unlike traditional sensors, consolidates multiple capabilities into a single sensor, decreasing both the number of apertures needed and the size, weight and power requirements for the advanced capabilities. Sophisticated multifunction apertures can deploy several functions simultaneously and are fully software-defined, allowing them to be repurposed or rapidly updated for changing threats without expensive and costly hardware modifications.

Read more > Northrop Grumman Flight Tests Digital Wideband AESA Sensor
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Open Architecture Systems and Digital Engineering

Today’s threats are rapidly evolving and warfighters need affordable and rapidly reconfigurable capabilities to stay ahead of adversaries and provide superior combat effectiveness. Our multifunction sensors are built on open system architectures and employ state-of-the-art digital-engineering to deliver agile solutions for both crewed and uncrewed platforms. We’re able to provide agile, open and digitally-engineered sensors that can adapt to multi-mission needs and requirements. Additionally, legacy modes have been decomposed into skills and smaller building blocks, enabling compatibility with the emerging Dev*Ops pipelines, maintaining performance and avoiding redesign. These resilient, secure, open and integrated mission system architectures are critical for achieving interoperability and strategic advantage in a technology-driven battlespace.

Our high fidelity modeling environments allows us to build upon a digital backbone.

radars lined up in lab

Common Building Blocks and Proven Performance

We have also developed fully-digital multifunction sensors that can seamlessly provide adaptive spectrum maneuverability. These sensors’ architectures and configurations are easily scaled for many applications and systems needs across all domains. By using common and scalable hardware and software building blocks, the cost and schedule of changing aperture or system size for different applications is dramatically reduced.

Our company’s mature, high through-put production environment mirrors our commitment to industry leading AESA development technology spanning many generations. The precision manufacturing and production tolerances we’re able to achieve enable continued combat-proven AESA capability improvements across domains. This has allowed us to meet the customer’s ramp rate on the largest production programs.

Learn more > Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radars
close-up of electronic attack pod

EO/IR Multifunction Sensors

From detecting a missile to tracking moving targets, our electro-optical/infrared EO/IR sensors provide critical capabilities to the warfighter.

From surface to space, Northrop Grumman’s electro-optical/infrared sensors harness the power of light to give warfighters a 24/7 view of the battlespace and the ability to deliver effects with unprecedented precision. With our open systems architecture, we make it possible to add new capabilities quickly and affordably.

Learn more > EO/IR Multifunction Sensors
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Advanced Networking and Multifunction Sensors

For over 60 years, we have been a leader in providing advanced networking and communications capabilities defining possible in net centric warfare. Our all-domain, platform-agnostic, secure, open architecture networking solutions are connecting the entire battlespace to enable the vision for JADC2.

Learn more > Advanced Networking Technology Learn more > JADC2
digital illustration of ground radar

Accelerating Digital Transformation

As we’ve developed our sophisticated mission systems suites, we’ve also developed digital representations of these sensors and architectures. This allows for faster mode development, rapid insertion of new capabilities and accelerated fielding at the speed of relevance. Additionally, these digital representations allow us to test our systems in a virtual battlespace, thereby reducing costly flight tests and accelerating capabilities to the warfighter with the assurance that they will work in the intended operational environment. Learn more about our digital transformation expertise across all of our portfolios.

Learn more > Digital Transformation
digital aircraft next to hanger

Digital Shadow

Furthermore, we have developed a digital twin of our testbed aircraft called Digital Shadow. This digital twin has the capability to test digital representations of our multifunction sensors, netted together in a realistic virtual environment of the test aircraft that simulates our advanced capabilities and collects performance data representative of various virtual missions. This data enables us to find and resolve integration and performance issues before costly integration and flight testing is started. Real sensor data can then be collected on the test bed to perform model validation and verification of predicted behavior that can be exchanged with our customers for mission analysis. All of this facilitates affordable integration, test and delivery while accelerating the speed to fleet of new and enhanced capabilities. This approach greatly reduces risk and schedule associated with transitioning capability from design to test bed to tactical platforms.

Read more > Northrop Grumman to Develop Digital Twin of Company’s Testbed for Digital Mission Systems
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Join Our Team

Northrop Grumman is a pioneering technology company that brings the unique perspectives of ambitious, curious people together. We create the most advanced technologies in the world that solve the most challenging problems in the universe and advance the future of humankind.

Learn about our current opportunities

In the News


Northrop Grumman’s New Multifunction Sensor Designed for Rapid Production

Northrop Grumman Successfully Integrates Multifunction RAPTR Sensor and Mini-CNI In Flight

Northrop Grumman Successfully Integrates Multifunction RAPTR Sensor and Mini-CNI In Flight

crane unloading Navy system

Northrop Grumman Delivers First SEWIP Block 3 System to US Navy

ground radar in desert

Northrop Grumman G/ATOR Demonstrates Advanced Fire Control Radar Capability for US Marine Corps

digital rendering of ground radar

On the Forefront of Next Generation Radar Excellence

digital aircraft next to hanger

Northrop Grumman to Develop Digital Twin of Company’s Testbed for Digital Mission Systems

Sophisticated Multifunction Sensors - infographic

Multi-Domain Operations Demand Multifunction Sensors (Breaking Defense)

digital active electronically scanned array (AESA)

Northrop Grumman Delivers Advanced Multifunction Sensor System to AFRL and DARPA

digital illustration of ground radar

Seeing Double

man next to Digital Wideband AESA Sensor

Northrop Grumman Flight Tests Digital Wideband AESA Sensor

Contact Us

Brittany King
(434) 996-6579