Aerial Warfare

Northrop Grumman to Produce Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array for US Air Force E-7 Aircraft

A U.S. Air Force E-7 equipped with the Northrop Grumman MESA sensor.
A U.S. Air Force E-7 equipped with the Northrop Grumman MESA sensor.

Northrop Grumman Corporation will enter into production of the Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) sensor for the U.S. Air Force E-7 aircraft. As part of the E-7 weapons system, the combat proven MESA sensor will provide critical long range sensing, detection and identification in challenging environments equipping the U.S. Air Force with simultaneous air and maritime sensing capabilities, critical early warning and air battle management capabilities. The MESA radar for the AEW&C system provides critical domain awareness for warfighters and allows them to see farther and make accelerated and informed decisions to meet mission objectives.

“The multifunction MESA sensor will provide the U.S. Air Force with critical multi-domain awareness to enable decision superiority for the range of mission requirements today and into the future” said Ed Griebel, vice president of airborne surveillance programs, Northrop Grumman. “As we fulfill our promise to the Air Force to rapidly bring unmatched, decisive air battle management sensing capabilities including long range first detect and first engagement in the battlespace, we look forward to enabling global allied interoperability in partnership with Boeing.”

Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) Surveillance Radar
Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) Surveillance Radar. (Photo by Northrop Grumman)

MESA provides the ability to dynamically adjust to each unique or emerging tactical situation. This modern Airborne Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) sensor is already in production and deployed for customers worldwide, providing 360-degree situational awareness and flexibility to adapt to missions and environments in all weather conditions. MESA allows operators to simultaneously focus on priority missions, rapidly revisit targets with increased accuracy and pass relevant information to enable timely Battle Management Command and Control decisions. The advanced radar can extend its detection range without having to fly closer to a threat situation.

Northrop Grumman’s MESA also has a robust IFF system that recently achieved AIMS certification for a new Mode 5 for the system. Mode 5 enhances the ability to protect our warfighters by using advanced waveforms, cryptology and techniques to further the proven performance of MESA and its IFF system. An IFF system identifies if the other signal is – as the name states – friend or foe. MESA is on an active production line to address global threats in the modern-day battlespace and evolve to meet future mission requirements. Australia, Turkey and South Korea have fielded the E-7 system, with production underway on the United Kingdom E-7 AEW&C fleet

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