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DARPA Contract Northrop Grumman for Advanced PNT Satellite Payload

Agile LEO Signal Independent of Satellite Navigation Systems

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Blackjack programme has awarded Northrop Grumman a contract for Phase 2 development of an advanced, software-defined positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) payload, with options to build units destined for space flight, the company announced on 16 September.

The PNT payload work is led by Northrop Grumman’s Future PNT Systems Operating Unit in Woodland Hills. The team supports the DARPA Tactical Technology Office’s goal of achieving capable, resilient and affordable national security space capabilities from low Earth orbit (LEO). “Northrop Grumman’s software-defined [PNT] technology will offer military users an agile new signal from LEO that is not dependent on existing satellite navigation systems. [Troops] depend on assured PNT for traditional missions, like force projection and joint operations, but also for emerging autonomous and distributed missions,” explained Dr Nicholas Paraskevopoulos, CTO and Sector VP, Emerging Capabilities Development.

The PNT payload features Northrop Grumman’s Software Enabled Reconfigurable Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Embedded Architecture for Navigation and Timing (SERGEANT) capability. The Phase 2 development effort is valued at $13.3 million (€11.3 million) if all options are exercised through emulation, critical design and build.


Northrop Grumman’s advanced, software-enabled positioning, navigation and timing payload has been developed to keep forces on target in difficult environments against advanced threats – even if the availability of existing satellite navigation systems are degraded or denied. (Image: Northrop Grumman)

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