Bell Textron AH-1Z Viper and H-1Y Venom Helicopters
Bell Textron AH-1Z Viper and H-1Y Venom Helicopters

Northrop Grumman Awarded $24 Million Contract Procure Link 16 Kit for UH-1Y and AH-1Z Helicopter

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Woodland Hills, California, is awarded a $24,320,573 modification (P00002) to a previously awarded firm-price-incentive-fee contract. This modification exercises options to procure 25 Link 16 production B kits, three Link 16 B kit spares, and two Link 16 flight training device B kits in support of UH-1Y and AH-1Z Helicopter modification efforts for the U.S. Navy. Additionally, this modification extends services in support of Link-16 systems engineering, program management and logistics support. Fiscal 2022 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $24,320,573 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

Link 16 is a military tactical data link network used by NATO and nations allowed by the MIDS International Program Office (IPO). Its specification is part of the family of Tactical Data Links. With Link 16, military aircraft as well as ships and ground forces may exchange their tactical picture in near-real time. Link 16 also supports the exchange of text messages, imagery data and provides two channels of digital voice (2.4 kbit/s or 16 kbit/s in any combination). Link 16 is defined as one of the digital services of the JTIDS / MIDS in NATO’s Standardization Agreement STANAG 5516. MIL-STD-6016 is the related United States Department of Defense Link 16 MIL-STD. Link 16 is intended to advance Tactical Data Links (TDLs) as the NATO standard for data link information exchange. Link 16 equipment is located in ground, airborne, and sea-based air defense platforms and selected fighter aircraft.

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The UH-1Y Venom multi-role utility helicopter is equipped with a wide range of weapons and mission support configurations to also perform close air support missions, along with combat assault support, search and rescue/causality evacuation, armed escort/reconnaissance, command and control, and special operation support. UH-1Y Venom is the USMC’s premier utility platform. The AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter provides rotary wing close air support, anti-armor, anti-air, armed escort, armed/visual reconnaissance and fire support coordination capabilities under day/night and adverse weather conditions for the USMC. Additionally, the AH-1Z and UH-1Y share 85 percent parts commonality, designed to significantly reduce life-cycle costs and the aircraft’s logistical footprint, while increasing the maintainability and deployability.

Northrop Grumman are a Tactical Data Link (TDL) solutions provider with 60 years of experience in the design and development of TDLs, network planning, management and control systems for every echelon of battlefield network communications. TDL solutions are currently employed world-wide, used by both Defense and Industry to conduct TDL operations using a wide variety of over 30 interfaces and protocols, such as Link 16, Link 11, Joint Range Extension Application Protocol (JREAP), Variable Message Format (VMF) and Link 22. Northrop Grumman’s Gateway Manager (GM) provides network managers with the ability to network multiple platforms communicating on different protocols while providing a comprehensive operational picture in near real-time. The Gateway Manager also controls data communications locally and remotely, making it a flexible capability for managing tactical networks.

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