Digital Wideband AESA Sensor Undergoes Flight Test

Northrop Grumman conducted a flight test to demonstrate the capabilities of Terracotta, its new fully-digital open mission systems (OMS)-compliant wideband active electronically scanned array (AESA) sensor By DA Reporter / 30 Jun 2021

Northrop Grumman Corporation has conducted a flight test of its new wideband sensor technology with a fully-digital open mission systems architecture to support airborne early warning radar, active and passive sensing, and communications. The flight test was a follow-on to ground and flight demonstrations conducted in fall 2020.

The Terracotta active electronically scanned array (AESA) sensor demonstrated its ability to simultaneously perform both active and passive radio frequency capabilities. With almost 200 wideband digital channels, Terracotta can be molded cooperatively or segmented depending on the operation.

“As a fully-digital multifunction sensor with a wide operating bandwidth, Terracotta can seamlessly provide adaptive spectrum maneuverability,” said Paul Kalafos, vice president, surveillance and electromagnetic maneuver warfare. 

“The sensor’s architecture is easily scaled and configured for many applications and systems across all domains. It represents a key enabling technology for joint all domain operations.”

Unlike traditional sensors, multifunction apertures consolidate multiple capabilities into a single sensor, decreasing both the number of apertures needed and the size, weight, and power requirements for the advanced capabilities. Sophisticated multifunction apertures like Terracotta can deploy several functions simultaneously.

OMS compliance offers an interface solution based on open architecture design allowing customers to rapidly add new or improved capabilities, regardless of supplier, at a reduced cost.

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