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Northrop Grumman Next-Gen Digital Antenna Milestone

AFRL AETHER SPY Moves Into Design Phase

Northrop Grumman is moving into the design phase of the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) AETHER SPY next-generation multifunction radar programme, having successfully completed the system requirements review, the company announced on 13 October.

AETHER SPY advances multifunction wideband active electronically-scanned array (AESA) technology based on the advanced microelectronics created on the DARPA Arrays on Commercial Timescales (ACT) programme. It will develop the next generation of integrated circuits that include additional processing and key design features that enable DoD’s trusted microelectronics strategy. The advanced devices will be fabricated and integrated into an advanced digital AESA to demonstrate a multifunction system capable of simultaneously performing multiple sensing, communication and EW functions.

We look forward to demonstrating how the advanced digital AESA technology enables unmatched system agility that will meet the challenging mission requirements of advanced platforms,” stated William Phillips, Director, Multifunction Systems at Northrop Grumman. “The advanced integrated circuits, digital AESA architecture and multifunction software developed on AETHER SPY will become foundational building blocks for the next generation of multifunction [RF] systems supporting the future mission needs of the DoD.”

This transition of digital AESA technology aligns well with the Air Force’s digital engineering initiatives,” explained Thomas Dalrymple, Technical Advisor for Sensor Subsystems at the AFRL Sensors Directorate. “AETHER SPY will enable significant improvements in surveillance and battle management missions in the future battlespace. The multifunction aspects are enabled by both software and hardware reprogrammability that will ensure this sensor will have operational impact for years to come.”

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