Northrop Grumman conducts flight demonstration of Terracotta sensor
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Northrop Grumman conducts flight demonstration of Terracotta sensor

23 Jun 2021 (Last Updated June 23rd, 2021 16:18)

The demonstration was a follow-on to Terracotta’s successful ground and flight tests last autumn.

Northrop Grumman conducts flight demonstration of Terracotta sensor
Terracotta’s nearly 200 wideband digital channels can be molded cooperatively or segmented for unique purposes. Credit: Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Northrop Grumman has demonstrated the capabilities of its new Terracotta sensor during a flight test.

The new sensor is a fully digital open mission systems (OMS)-compliant wideband active electronically scanned array (AESA) sensor.

The flight test follows ground and flight demonstrations of Terracotta conducted in November last year.

During the joint live flight tests conducted last fall in partnership with Boeing, the AESA sensor was integrated into a Boeing delivered OMS-compliant mission computing system.

The latest test demonstrated Terracotta’s ability to perform active and passive radio frequency (RF) capabilities at the same time.

Northrop said that Terracotta’s nearly 200 wideband digital channels can be segmented for purposes such as electronic warfare (EW), airborne early warning (AEW) radar, active and passive sensing, and communications.

Northrop Grumman surveillance and electromagnetic manoeuvre warfare vice-president Paul Kalafos said: “As a fully digital multifunction sensor with a wide operating bandwidth, Terracotta can seamlessly provide adaptive spectrum manoeuvrability.

“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.”

Sophisticated multifunction apertures such as Terracotta are capable of simultaneously deploying several functions.

The open architecture design of the OMS compliant sensor allows customers to rapidly add new or improved capabilities at a lower cost.

Northrop Grumman intends to merge a mix of OMS/Open Communication Systems sensors and software-defined radios (SDRs).

According to the company, this approach across different platforms, networks and nodes will help meet emerging mission requirements while making sure of interoperability across multi-domain.