Northrop Grumman has received a competitive prototyping contract from the Boeing Company for developing an embedded global positioning/inertial navigation system (EGI) on behalf of the U.S. Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.
As per the contract, Northrop Grumman will create a prototype inertial navigation system that will reflect fiber-optic gyro performance suitability for F/A-18 E/F and EA-18G Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) requirements. JPALS serves as an advanced aircraft landing system that employs Global Positioning System (GPS) data, thereby substituting radar-based systems.
As part of this effort, Northrop Grumman will target integration risk reduction, in addition to complying with specific system requirements and improving performance efficiency toward a JPALS-compatible navigation subsystem. Boeing is anticipated to down-select to a single supplier in terms of system production. The company upon selection will host a five-year Engineering and Manufacturing Development program for delivering inertial navigation system for all Super Hornet and Growler aircraft, with a projected production of 500 EGIs for the program.
The all-weather F/A-18E/F Super Hornet serves to be U.S. Navy's premier fighter/attack aircraft that can carry out a variety of missions. The EA-18G Growler, which is now being delivered to the Navy, will be the basis of the naval Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) mission. Designed from the F/A-18F aircraft, the EA-18G has in-built advanced AEA avionics for better defense operations.
Using local area differential GPS, JPALS serves to be an all-weather, anti-jam approach and landing system. Navy-made JPALS functions with GPS for extending precise, reliable landing guidance for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft in addition to being used for fixed-base, tactical and shipboard applications. The inertial measurement unit for the shipboard-relative GPS set in the JPALS program is provided by the company. Furthermore, it will optimize the advanced Relative Navigation software algorithms developed for the AAR program while developing a JPALS-compliant system.