Military Embedded Systems

Navy E-6B gets secure, high-speed communications and networking upgrade from Northrop Grumman


June 27, 2012

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

SAN DIEGO. Northrop Grumman Corp. won a a $44.3 million U.S. Navy contract to install high-speed, secure communications and networking systems on an Navy E-6B Mercury aircraft, as part of the Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) strategic communications relay mission.

The E-6B TACAMO plane provides airborne command, control, and communications between the President of the United States, Secretary of Defense, and strategic and nonstrategic U.S. forces. Under the Block II Modification, operators of the E-6B aircraft will be able to connect securely with U.S. Department of Defense networks running at high data rates while still in airborne. Northrop Grumman engineers will upgrade the aircraft to provide users on board to access mission-essential, near-real-time data from worldwide sources without interfering with the aircraft’s operational performance.

The aircraft’s networking and communications systems will be designed and produced by Northrop Grumman with the first step calling for integrating the systems into the E-6B Systems Integration Laboratory followed by integration on a single E-6B aircraft. Under the contract, which was awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, Northrop Grumman engineers will also provide testing, training, and logistics to support operational fielding.

Navy officials intend to field the upgraded capability to the entire E-6B fleet through a follow-on contract. Navy E-6B conduct TACAMO and U.S. Strategic Command Airborne Command Post missions.


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