WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. --- Northrop Grumman Corporation has been selected by the U.S. Air Force to provide 30 high-accuracy LN-120G stellar navigation systems for the RC-135 family of reconnaissance aircraft.
The Northrop Grumman LN-120G is a GPS-(global positioning system) augmented stellar inertial-navigation system that tracks stars during the day and at night. Once the LN-120G locates a star, it refines the positioning information provided by the inertial-navigation systems of the aircraft. Repeating this process enables the LN-120G to provide heading information accurate to 20 arc seconds - the highest accuracy available in the world.
The high positional accuracy of the LN-120G enables the RC-135 to accurately detect and pinpoint hostile targets and transmit that target data to JSTARS surveillance aircraft and ultimately attack aircraft.
“The upgraded navigation systems will improve performance and reliability for the RC-135, while providing an economical path for spares replenishment,'' said Mike Borck, Northrop Grumman program manager for stellar-inertial navigation systems at the company's Navigation Systems Division. “The LN-120G can also be adapted to address the needs of other aircraft requiring extremely precise navigation.''
The LN-120G introduces modern hardware and software and adds an integrated global positioning system. It provides Zero-lock(tm) gyroscope technology, advanced-technology accelerometers and new electronics for the stellar telescope. It will replace the Northrop Grumman LN-20 stellar navigation system, which utilizes mechanical gyroscopes and accelerometers and has been in service for three decades.
Under the development phase of this program, Northrop Grumman created new software, test equipment and prototype units that will be flight tested by the Air Force later in 2005. The production phase of the contract will retrofit the existing ship sets of LN-20 line replaceable equipment with the 30 LN-120G units beginning in 2006.
The RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft provides near real-time on-scene intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination capabilities. Initially employed by the Strategic Air Command to satisfy nationally tasked intelligence-collection requirements, the RC-135 fleet has also participated in every sizable armed conflict involving U.S. assets during its tenure.
Headquartered in Woodland Hills, Calif., Northrop Grumman's Navigation Systems Division -- part of the company's Electronic Systems sector -- supplies situational-awareness products for international and domestic defense and commercial markets and offers integrated avionics, navigation and positioning systems and sensors for space and high-value platform products, navigation-grade and tactical-grade inertial systems, fiber-optic gyro systems designed to customer requirements, underwater fiber-optic sensors, identification friend-or-foe transponders and interrogators, cockpit displays and computers, and logistic support products and services.