AEW&C with MESA: A Survivable, Joint Forces Airborne Command Center

 

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IDEX 2011
International Defence Exhibition & Conference
Abu Dhabi
, United Arab Emirates
20 - 24 February 2011
 
Northrop Grumman at IDEX 2011
 

Monday, 22 February 2011, 09:13 PM

 
737 AEW&C with MESA: A Survivable, Joint Forces Airborne Command Center
 
 

Northrop Grumman continues to lead the defense industry as an Airborne Early Warning (AEW) and Command and Control (C²) provider. Supporting the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) emerging goals for “Defense of the Emirates,” the company provides a world-class AEW sensor onboard the 737 Boeing aircraft that can also be utilized as a Survival-of-the-Government Airborne Node in time of crises. As an airborne Command Center, this node would fully support homeland defense and security, humanitarian assistance, and regional protection.  

The 737 AEW&C aircraft cabin features 10 command and control operator consoles. A subset of the consoles can be used for peacetime operations, surging to the full 10 consoles during times of conflict. With its long-endurance and re-fueling capability, the platform is ideal for prolonged C² operations of air, naval and ground forces. The 737 AEW&C also has adequate space and resources to accommodate national-level decision makers onboard the aircraft in addition to command and control commanders. The aircraft’s connectivity to other defense assets, such as the F-16 Block 60 fleet, naval forces, ground intercept radars and ground elements, also makes it highly survivable in times of attack.


     
At IDEX 2011Northrop Grumman presents the Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar which will equip future 737 AEW&C systems. The system has been selected by Australian, South Korean and Turkish Air Forces and is being offered to the United Arab Emirates Air Force.

     

MESA Radar Complements Fielded AESA Capabilities

The aircraft uses the Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar, which is capable of simultaneous air and sea search, fighter control and area search.

“With the MESA radar on the Boeing 737 aircraft, the UAE will have the best airborne AESA surveillance radar to complement the advanced AESA radar already on the UAE F-16 Block 60 jets,” said Paul Kalafos, vice president of Surveillance Systems, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. “In fact, the MESA radar, with full 360-degree AESA coverage, extends situational awareness of air and surface targets well beyond the range of ground-based radars and fills in the ‘coverage holes’ of ground assets. Plugging these so-called holes prevents both forward- and rear-echelon attacks from low-altitude cruise missiles and low-flying attack aircraft.” 

Thanks to the MESA radar’s long-range detection and tracking, along with the radar’s 30 to 80 percent enhanced ranges in selected sectors, the 737 AEW&C aircraft can more effectively respond to sector priorities with early engagements by air, land and naval forces. Moreover, the unique MESA 360-degree, beam-on-demand capability enables high-accuracy, priority tracks for any threat, as well as detailed raid assessments. 

As an added advantage, connectivity to U.S. early-warning and other coalition assets allows for further enhanced detection ranges in sectors of interest. This ability is crucial in cases of Theater Ballistic Missile and low-altitude cruise missile attacks.
At IDEX 2011Northrop Grumman presents the Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar which will equip future 737 AEW&C systems. The system has been selected by Australian, South Korean and Turkish Air Forces and is being offered to the United Arab Emirates Air Force.

MESA also incorporates a long-range-identification friend or foe (IFF) capability for extended detection and identification of approaching aircraft in conjunction with the radar and other sensors onboard. The threats are then confirmed as they enter selectable “keep-out monitoring ranges.”

While supporting the comprehensive air picture, MESA interleaves a complete surface picture over water. This capability enables rapid alerts to naval and early engagements by defense assets. 

In support of the C2 capability, the platform can also provide control of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) assets, further extending range coverage and enhancing surface threat information via data linking to the 737 AEW&C. Data from UAVs and other airborne assets can be merged in any of the work stations of the platform for enhanced situational assessments of the Air/Surface picture. Automated analysis tools reduce operator workload to focus on key areas of interest.  

Visit Northrop Grumman during IDEX 2011 on stand 03-B12

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