Original Date: 05/01/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Electro-Optical/Infrared Technology Development
In the past, Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division’s (DSD’s) practices in Electro-Optical (EO)/Infrared (IR) Technology Development followed traditional military procurement procedures. These procedures involved many stages of prototype work; the development of platform/application-specific hardware; a reactive approach to customer needs; and minimal involvement with external vendors. Today, Northrop Grumman DSD’s revised practices in EO/IR Technology Development emphasize the anticipation of customer needs as well as cost and schedule controls.
New product features and customer needs are anticipated and proactively developed by using Internal Research and Development (IRAD) funding. Modular system development allows a single system design to encompass many deployment platforms and streamlines upgrades. Strong vendor teaming at all stages of development assists in streamlining the design, and avoids schedule and resource impacts from miscommunication or unpreparedness.
Since implementing the revised practices, Northrop Grumman DSD has streamlined its prototype development by carefully assessing risk, and by designing and building prototypes to the highest possible level of completion during each design iteration. In addition, the bypassing of multiple breadboard and brassboard stages generates significant cost and schedule savings. The company’s prototypes are capable of undergoing field testing with minimal special test equipment, and are more representative of the final product. Several programs at Northrop Grumman DSD have successfully implemented this design practice, including Wanda™, a pointing/tracking system; Viper™, a solid state laser; and Litening II, a forward looking IR pod.
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