The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. (Los Angeles, Calif.) an 89-month, $1.16 billion contract for System Development and Demonstration (SDD) of the service’s new Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System (BAMS UAS) program. The BAMS UAS will provide the U.S. Navy with a persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system to protect the fleet and provide a capability to detect, track, classify, and identify maritime and littoral targets.
“We are honored that the Navy selected our team to provide this critical advanced capability to help fulfill its mission to protect our warfighters, our nation and its allies from maritime threats,” said Ronald D. Sugar, Northrop Grumman chairman and CEO. “We believe our approach, based on the proven capabilities of the Global Hawk, delivers the best value to the Navy and the American taxpayer, further supporting the National Maritime Strategy and the Global War on Terrorism.”
Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4N, a marinized version of the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle, will be the platform for the BAMS UAS suite of maritime surveillance sensors and communications systems.
“This BAMS UAS contract highlights Northrop Grumman’s leadership in unmanned aerial systems and its legacy of using engineering innovation to fulfill critical customer system requirements,” said Gary W. Ervin, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems sector. “We’re looking forward to being the Navy’s partner in developing this vital capability for the service’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces.”
The Northrop Grumman BAMS UAS is a multi-mission maritime ISR system that will support a variety of missions while operating independently or in direct collaboration with fleet assets. The RQ-4N will be able to provide a continuous on-station presence while conducting open-ocean and littoral surveillance of targets. When operational, BAMS will play a key role in providing commanders with a persistent, reliable picture of surface threats, covering vast areas of open ocean and littoral regions, minimizing the need to use other manned assets to execute surveillance and reconnaissance tasks.
“Northrop Grumman was chosen for the BAMS UAS SDD contract based upon a deliberate and meticulous source selection process designed to make a best value determination on behalf of the Navy,” said Captain Robert Dishman, program manager, PMA-262. “With Northrop Grumman as our industry partner, we are ready to begin SDD and take the next step towards delivering a persistent maritime ISR capability to the Fleet and warfighter.”
In addition to serving as the Navy’s BAMS prime contractor and unmanned aerial vehicle supplier, Northrop Grumman has developed the BAMS Multi-Function Active Sensor active electronically scanned array radar at its Norwalk, Conn., facility. Other RQ-4N BAMS team members include: Raytheon, which will support the Mission Control System segment and provide the electro-optical/infrared sensor; L-3 Communications, which will provide communications integration; Aurora Flight Sciences, which will provide the V-tail assembly and other composite structures; Rolls-Royce Corporation, which will provide the aircraft engine; Sierra Nevada Corporation, which will provide the Electronic Support Measures system; and Vought Aircraft Industries, which will supply the wing.
Northrop Grumman performs Global Hawk sub-assembly work at its Unmanned Systems Center, Moss Point, Miss. The company anticipates performing final assembly at its St. Augustine, Fla., manufacturing center.
The RQ-4N is the latest addition to a growing family of unmanned systems developed by Northrop Grumman. The BAMS system builds on the company’s extensive experience with autonomous flight control that includes thousands of flight hours by the combat-proven RQ-4 Global Hawk, the MQ-5B Hunter, the MQ-8 Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) tactical unmanned system — the first completely autonomous VTOL aircraft to land aboard a Navy vessel underway — and the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System — the first unmanned air vehicle scheduled to perform carrier landings.