(Image courtesy: U.S. Navy)

Northrop Grumman will develop next-gen navigation system for U.S. Air Force

Northrop Grumman Corporation, based out of Falls Church, Virginia, will proceed with the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System-Modernization (EGI-M) contract for the U.S. Air Force. The $59 million contract is a continuance of the Department of Defense (DoD) “Milestone B” approval in October 2018.

The modernized navigation system will incorporate generation GPS receivers capable of securely and accurately transmitting the new military signals for space (M-Code). As a next-generation navigation system, EGI-M uses a modular and open systems architecture and is designed for compatibility with current systems on legacy aircraft. The system will help provide important geographical data in environments that deny traditional GPS data transmission.

Learn more about aircraft GPS systems

Since the EGI-M will be integrated into multiple platforms across all the services and exportable versions will be developed for international customers, Northrop Grumman’s approach requires ease of integration and rapid adoption of new capabilities adaptability based on unique and existing platform requirements. The lead platforms for EGI-M integration will be the fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft and the Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft.

Through the EMD phase, Northrop Grumman will develop the critical hardware and software design for the EGI-M architecture, build hardware for integration and qualification, generate safety and civil certification documentation, qualify the new EGI-M systems to rigorous military standards, and build production units for platform testing.

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“This EMD award brings us an important step closer to fielding a modernized navigation system that provides accurate positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) information, even when GPS is denied,” says Dean Ebert, vice president, navigation and positioning systems, Northrop Grumman. “Northrop Grumman is dedicated to ensuring the safety and mission success of our warfighters by providing a resilient assured PNT solution that will allow service members to fly, fight and win in any environment.”

EGI-M will also comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen air traffic control requirements that aircraft flying at higher altitudes be equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS‑B) Out by January 2020. ADS-B Out transmits information about an aircraft’s altitude, speed, and location to ground stations and to other equipped aircraft in the vicinity.

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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

Contact him regarding any article or collaboration ideas by e-mail at william.kucinski@sae.org.
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