Northrop Grumman Corporation announced it was recently awarded the Integrated Modification and Maintenance Contract for the U.S. Navy’s E-6B Mercury platform, a derivative of the commercial Boeing 707 aircraft. The work will be performed at Northrop Grumman’s Aircraft Maintenance and Fabrication Center in Lake Charles. Over the next five years, Northrop Grumman will perform modifications to the Navy’s E-6B aircraft improving command, control and communications functions that connect the national command authority with the United States’ Nuclear Triad. The company will establish a consolidated production line for core modifications required under the $111 million contract. Northrop Grumman may also take on additional, smaller modifications and select depot maintenance tasks as required.
“We are laser focused on providing the most relevant capabilities while improving mission readiness,” said Mary Petryszyn, corporate vice president and president of Defense Systems at Northrop Grumman. “As leaders in aircraft sustainment and modernization, the US Navy’s E-6B Mercury fleet is another example of our strong partnership with the Navy in achieving those goals.”
As part of the critical Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) strategic communications mission, the E-6B operates across a wide frequency spectrum to transmit and receive secure and non-secure voice and data information. The aircraft provides survivable, endurable, reliable airborne command, control, and communications in support of the President, Secretary of Defense, and United States Strategic Command.
The Boeing E-6 Mercury (formerly Hermes) is an airborne command post and communications relay based on the Boeing 707. The original E-6A manufactured by Boeing’s defense division entered service with the United States Navy in July 1989, replacing the EC-130Q. This platform, now modified to the E-6B standard, conveys instructions from the National Command Authority to fleet ballistic missile submarines (see communication with submarines), a mission known as TACAMO (“Take Charge And Move Out”). The E-6B model deployed in October 1998 also has the ability to remotely control Minuteman ICBMs using the Airborne Launch Control System. The E-6B replaced Air Force EC-135Cs in the “Looking Glass” role, providing command and control of U.S. nuclear forces should ground-based control become inoperable. With production lasting until 1991, the E-6 was the final new derivative of the Boeing 707 to be built.
Northrop Grumman provides sustainment and modernization support that includes: contractor logistics support and fleet stewardship; modifications and upgrades; mission planning, weapon systems development and pilot training; as well as software design engineering and integration solutions on autonomous, tactical, fixed wing and special mission aircraft systems, including: F-35 Lightning II; P-3 Orion; BACN E-11A; E-8C; A-10 Thunderbolt II; B-2 Spirit; RQ-4 Global Hawk and more. This contract continues the company’s expansive growth in aircraft maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade. 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.