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Northrop Grumman Flight Tests TERRACOTTA Wideband AESA

Enables Simultaneous Active and Passive Activity

Northrop Grumman has successfully demonstrated its new TERRACOTTA sensor – a fully-digital open mission systems (OMS)-compliant wideband active electronically scanned array (AESA), the company announced on 22 June.

Following ground and flight demonstrations last year, the most recent flight verified the system’s ability to conduct active and passive RF activities simultaneously: its almost 200 wideband digital channels can be molded cooperatively, or segmented for unique purposes, including EW, airborne early warning, active and passive sensing, and communications.

As a fully-digital multifunction sensor with a wide operating bandwidth, TERRACOTTA can seamlessly provide adaptive spectrum maneuverability […] The sensor’s architecture is easily scaled and configured for many applications and systems across all domains. It represents a key enabling technology for joint all domain operations,” commented Paul Kalafos, VP, Surveillance and Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare.

Unlike traditional sensors, multifunction apertures consolidate multiple capabilities into a single sensor, decreasing both the number of apertures needed and the size, weight, and power requirements for its advanced capabilities. Sophisticated multifunction apertures like TERRACOTTA can deploy several functions simultaneously.

OMS compliance offers an interface solution based on open architecture design, allowing customers to rapidly add new or improved capabilities, regardless of supplier, at a reduced cost. Northrop Grumman plans to integrate a combination of OMS/Open Communication Systems sensors and software-defined radios across multiple platforms, networks and nodes to address developing mission needs and ensure multi-domain interoperability.

The close to 200 separate wideband digital channels in the TERRACOTTA sensor can be molded cooperatively or segmented for discrete mission requirements. (Photo: Northrop Grumman)

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