Northrop to build BMC2

Air Force Officials awarded a contract last month estimated at $408 million to Northrop Grumman Corp. to build the Battle Management Command and Control (BMC2) system.

BMC2 will automate the processing of data related to enemy targets detected by sensors and radar that can penetrate clouds and trees. The computer system will reside on a new airplane called the E-10A Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft (MC2A).

Northrop Grumman beat out Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., according to industry officials. "We will deliver to the Air Force a transformational system that will play a pivotal role in the multidimensional battlefield," said Ron Sugar, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Northrop Grumman, in a Sept. 10 statement.

Air Force officials awarded $4 million worth of contracts last year to Northrop, Lockheed and Boeing to design BMC2. The system will combine computer networks on six existing aircraft that gather intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data. The networks includes the Airborne Warning and Control System and the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, according to GlobalSecurity.org.

Air Force officials awarded a $126 million deal to Boeing last year to build the first of five 767s to serve as experimental aircraft for the broader MC2A initiative, an 18-year, $58 billion effort to field a system that identifies enemy targets and then coordinates jet fighters and bombers so they can attack more quickly than they do today. Officials want to field four E-10A MC2As by 2012, and that could grow to a fleet of 60 by 2020.

The E-10A MC2A program is a key part of the Air Force's larger Command and Control Constellation initiative that consists of land, air and space sensors that use common computer protocols and communications standards to share information.

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