Northrop Grumman
Corporation provided ground command and launch
equipment (CLE) software for a successful flight test of
a prototype booster for the ground-based midcourse defense
(GMD) program. The launch took place last month from Vandenberg
Air Force Base, Calif.

This was the first flight test of one of two boosters developed
for the GMD program and of the Northrop Grumman Information
Technology (IT)-developed CLE software that controls the
booster launch. The test successfully demonstrated the capabilities
of both the booster and the ground launch system.

This test is one of a series to incrementally evaluate the
capabilities of the GMD system, which is designed to protect
the United States against attack by ballistic missiles.
Additional flight and ground tests will be conducted to
demonstrate the GMD program’s readiness to support initial
defensive operations and the ballistic missile defense test
bed by September 2004.

“We are pleased with our software’s performance and its
contribution to a successful flight test,” said Christine
Reynolds, vice president, C3I Systems, Northrop Grumman
IT. “Reliable command and control is essential to the GMD
program and we look forward to providing our command and
control technologies to GMD and other missile defense programs.”

As the GMD prime contractor, The Boeing Co. selected Northrop
Grumman IT’s CLE software to plan the intercept trajectory,
command the booster and monitor its status. The software
communicates with the booster during prelaunch checkout
until the time it commands the booster to launch. Northrop
Grumman IT developed the software using defined, repeatable
processes to ensure that this critical GMD component exhibited
the required reliability and quality.

Northrop Grumman IT developed the software on a highly accelerated
schedule while maintaining the company’s high quality standards.
The software was delivered in one-half the time of the shortest
possible schedule predicted by standard software models.

“We have set a new standard in software delivery schedules,”
said Barry Rhine, president, Defense Mission Systems, Northrop
Grumman IT. “Our ability to rapidly deliver quality software
contributed to the GMD flight test’s success. We are applying
the lessons learned from this program to other software
development programs at Northrop Grumman.”

In addition to the CLE software development, Northrop Grumman
provides the GMD fire control/communications from the company’s
Mission Systems sector, the canister for one of the two
types of interceptors from the company’s Electronic Systems
sector, and systems engineering and simulation development
support are also from Northrop Grumman IT. This end-to-end
system simulation is used to evaluate GMD performance under
potential attack scenarios.

Work on the program is performed at Northrop Grumman locations
in Huntsville, Ala; Anaheim, San Pedro and Sunnyvale, Calif.;
Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Crystal City, Va.

Northrop Grumman’s Role in Missile Defense

From detection, to tracking, to engagement, Northrop Grumman
is bringing its entire suite of expertise in systems integration,
high-tech weaponry, and domain knowledge to bear on the
challenge of a layered missile defense capability. The full
spectrum of programs includes prime contractor roles for
the Defense Support Program satellite; the Space Tracking
and Surveillance System (STSS); the Joint National Integration
Center, the Joint Tactical Ground Station and the Liquid
Booster target program. Northrop Grumman is also heading
teams pursuing MDA’s Kinetic Energy Interceptors program
and the Targets and Countermeasures prime program, and playing
a leading role developing and upgrading the Aegis platform.

As a leader in chemical lasers, Northrop Grumman is developing
the high-power chemical laser component of the MDA’s Airborne
Laser program and is the U.S. Army’s prime contractor for
the Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser. Northrop Grumman
also provides payloads and mission processing for SBIRS-High
and STSS, support services and active/passive sensor technology
directly to MDA.

Northrop Grumman Information Technology, headquartered in
Herndon, Va., is a trusted IT leader and premier provider
of advanced IT solutions, engineering and business services
for government and commercial clients. The company’s expertise
spans such areas as information systems integration; information
technology security; command, control, communications, computers,
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR); enterprise
hardware and software solutions; training and simulation;
base and range support; signals intelligence; health informatics;
space systems; and specialized scientific, engineering and
technical services.