Saturday, August 14, 2010

Northrop teams with Air Force to pump up HART

By David Hubler

Northrop Grumman Corp. will help the Air Force further develop its net-centric architecture system that enhances warfighters’ awareness of the battlefield environment under a four-year, $46.3 million contract.

The award calls for Northrop to work with the Air Force in developing, testing and field-demonstrating the Heterogeneous Airborne Reconnaissance Team (HART) system.

The system will enable warfighters to use handheld computers to request full-motion video of area of interests such as suspected enemy positions or hostile territory.

The system is designed to autonomously manage a mix of manned and unmanned aircraft and sensors, and distribute actionable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information (ISR) on demand to soldiers in the field, according to a company statement.

The system will supply intelligence data to the warfighter on demand, and provide instant situational awareness of the vicinity, said Carl Johnson, vice president of Advanced Concepts-Air and Land Systems at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, in the news release.

“This enabling technology allows the soldier to react to tactical situations in real time, without delays stemming from data acquisition or tasking of multiple assets," he added. "All relevant data is in the palm of a soldier's hand whenever it is needed."

The contract was awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force Research Lab, which is administering it.

The Army and ISR Task Force also are participating in the system’s development and demonstration.

The HART system is being considered by United States Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force and special operations.

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