The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a contract to complete the design of a next-generation, open standards-based signals intelligence (SIGINT) sensor for high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms. Under the Air Force’s Global High-altitude Open-system Sensor Technology (GHOST) program, the company will deliver a design of a prototype sensor – including airborne and ground components – with an innovative, open standards-based hardware and software architecture that can be scaled and configured to fly on multiple types of manned and unmanned Air Force aircraft.
“Leveraging our SAGE technology and 45 years of SIGINT mission expertise, our platform agnostic GHOST sensor is a next-generation intelligence data collection and exploitation system,” said Ben Davies, vice president and general manager, networked information solutions, Northrop Grumman.
The open architecture also includes the software to create essentially a virtual environment for vendors – even third-party vendors – to create applications. The GHOST program has been designated as a Section 804 rapid prototyping program and is currently working a 12 month effort with three vendors to design prototypes. In addition, the Government will perform an open architecture assessment on all three vendor’s systems in the AFRL’s Open Architecture Technology Lab. Following that effort, the GHOST team will perform a source selection to select one vendor to build flyable prototypes to continue driving the program towards fielding the system.
Northrop Grumman’s GHOST sensor will provide the Air Force with an agile architecture to meet today’s ISR needs while supporting rapid system enhancement, testing, accreditation and integration at the speed of relevance long into the future as the dynamic battlespace changes. Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day