Ground Moving Target Engagement System Hits Tank With JDAM
Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully passed the "final exam" of a three-year project aimed at demonstrating a faster, less expensive way for airborne weapon systems to detect, track and destroy moving ground targets.
In the early October test of the Affordable Moving Surface Target Engagement (AMSTE) system, a Northrop Grumman-led team used two Ground Moving Target Indicator radar sources and a U.S. Air Force F-16 carrying a live Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) weapon to detect, track and obliterate a remotely driven M-60 tank moving through a congested and potentially confusing traffic environment.
Just prior to the engagement, the tank crossed paths with several vehicles at an intersection. The AMSTE tracking system successfully maintained track through the confusion.
AMSTE is jointly sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector is the AMSTE prime contractor.
"This test demonstrated convincingly that network-enabled sensor platforms sharing data in real time can significantly decrease "sensor-to-shooter" time while increasing the accuracy and effectiveness of precision strike missions," said Bill McCall, Northrop Grumman's AMSTE program manager.
"In partnership with DARPA and AFRL, we've successfully migrated from hitting fixed targets with precision to providing commanders with multiple ways to track and engage moving targets at stand-off distances under all weather conditions."
The test team used two radar systems developed by Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems to track the tank. An APY-7 system installed on a Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) test-bed aircraft flew 100 kilometers from the target.
A prototype Joint Strike Fighter active electronically scanned array aboard a BAC 1-11 flew 35 kilometers from the target. The F-16, flying at 20,000 feet, was more than 11 kilometers from the target when it dropped the GPS-guided weapon.
As the JDAM fell, it received location information on the tank from the Joint STARS that was so precise that the live bomb hit the tank directly on its turret completely destroying the tank.
"AMSTE is the latest example of architectures and technology that Northrop Grumman is developing to enable truly integrated system-of-systems solutions," said Dr. Dale Burton, vice president of advanced architectures for Integrated Systems' Advanced Capabilities Development organization.
"Our system integration efforts are already paying dividends for our customers in programs such as the E-10A, Joint STARS, Global Hawk and the UK's Watchkeeper program."
The Northrop Grumman AMSTE team included Integrated Systems' business unit in Melbourne, Fla. And the company's Electronic Systems sector operations in Baltimore and Norwalk, Ct. Boeing, the JDAM prime contractor and Raytheon, the weapon data-link supplier, also supported the test.
Northrop Grumman's AMSTE technology uses machine-to-machine communications to engage multiple moving surface targets precisely and accurately using seeker-less munitions from standoff distances under all weather conditions.
This system-of-systems technology uses a data fusion subsystem to develop and maintain accurate, long-term target tracks. The tracks allow the AMSTE system to guide GPS munitions to direct hits on moving surface targets.
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
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