Naval Research Laboratory Airborne Surveillance Command and Control Research Platform Developed

12/21/1998 - 71-98r
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (202) 767-2541

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) Program (PMS-465) and the E-2C Program (PMA-231) Offices, with their industry partners Lockheed-Martin and Northrop-Grumman, have accomplished a major milestone with delivery of a significantly modified NP-3D airborne research platform.

The NRL Airborne Surveillance Command and Control research aircraft is an NP-3D aircraft with the E-2C rotating antenna (rotodome) and the CEC Common Equipment Set (CES) already installed, and it will soon include the E-2C AEW Hawkeye 2000 suite. In addition to the integrated AEW/CEC suites, the aircraft is designed to accommodate Command and Control, Electronic Warfare, and Electro Optics (EO) research programs well into the next century.

The aircraft has been modified with an increased capacity Vapor Cycle cooling system, an additional generator and external power receptacle to meet the requirements of the new avionics systems. When complete, the AEW suite will include the APS-145 AEW radar, the Improved IFF system, the new E-2C Mission Computer and Advanced Control Indicator Set, and a robust Communications Suite with provisions for Tactical Data Link and Satellite Communications systems. In addition to the very distinctive rotodome, another distinguishing aircraft exterior feature is the CEC End Fire Array (EFA) antenna. This 54-inch antenna with the associated fairing presents a noticeable bulge below the entrance hatch located on the aft aircraft belly.

The aircraft has sufficient interior space to accommodate 6 additional research project operator stations, with Intercommunication System and navigation data, wing wiring for 6 external wing mounted pods, fore and aft mounted antenna platforms, retractable Infra-Red Detection System turret in the nose to accommodate EO projects, an internal electronics equipment mounting area that will support up to 700 lbs. of equipment in a specially cooled equipment area and additional 115Vac 60 cycle power for commercial off-the-shelf equipment.

The multi-organization Integration Program Team consisted of NRL, the CEC Program Office, the E-2C Program Office, the P-3 Program Office (PMA-290), Naval Air Systems Command Air Vehicle Engineering Division (AIR 4.3), Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems, Lockheed Martin Aircraft and Logistics Centers, and Northrop-Grumman. This team worked closely with other government agencies and contractors in developing the Navy's first rotodome P-3 aircraft.

Following initial air worthiness and ground/airborne system integration checks, at the Lockheed Martin flight facility in Greenville, South Carolina, the aircraft will be flown to the NRL Flight Support Detachment, Patuxent River, for government custody. The aircraft will undergo further ground and flight tests and will support the CEC program with the E-2C during the development and operational CEC testing and then will serve as a superb research platform for the pursuit of advanced surveillance technologies.

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About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country's position of global naval leadership. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to advance research further than you can imagine. For more information, visit the NRL website or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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