PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- The Navy and the Northrop Grumman Corporation introduced a Mission Computer Replacement (MCR) to the E-2C Group II aircraft in the fall, referred to as GrIIM RePr, the acronym carried by the program that produced the system (pronounced 'grim reaper').
The new Group II Mission Computer uses available commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) non-developmental (NDI) technology that will improve E-2C mission readiness and growth potential, to keep pace with increasing carrier strike group command and control and net-centric mission requirements, while improving reliability and reducing total ownership costs.
In a ceremony recognizing the accomplishment, Naval Air Systems Command GrIIM RePr Program Lead John Martin praised the team's effort in delivering the system to the fleet.
"We came together to celebrate our individual contributions and take pride in our collective achievement, said Martin. "We achieved our goal to engineer, manufacture and field an MCR that is significantly faster, lighter, reliable and capable of adapting to meet future processing requirements."
The MCR replaces the original Group II Litton L-304 tactical mission computer, used in the Group II aircraft since the late 1960s. The L-304's high maintenance costs, coupled with limited processing potential and memory capacity, had inhibited the ability to integrate modern, more advanced Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence and Surveillance (C4IS) weapons systems into the aircraft. The MCR provides more reliable, high-performance processing, with substantial growth provisions to meet current and future operational needs.
The replacement uses industry-proven COTS/NDI and reuses existing E-2C flight software to minimize hardware, software and integration costs, while requiring no structural, wiring or cooling changes to the aircraft's configuration.
In addition, the mission computer is easier to maintain, with a predicted Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) of greater than 10,000 hours. This MTBF is attributed to its state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, integration of operationally proven components, and a hardware suite that provides 98.7 percent fault detection and reporting capabilities. Software support will also be more easily maintained in either legacy or advanced software support environments, and the system's Open Systems Architecture will allow software growth for future C4IS interoperability requirements.
The GrIIM RePr Integrated Product Team (IPT) was assembled in 2000, and in 2001, the prime contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman Space Technologies. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration was then competitively selected by NGST to provide and produce the COTS and NDI computer hardware. Navy acceptance testing was conducted from December 2003 to June 2004, and in response to the Fleet's War Fighter Focus Group, the GrIIM RePr IPT developed a compressed testing strategy to gain efficiency and accelerate production and fielding.
All aircraft ground and flight-testing, including carrier suitability flight-testing and electromagnetic compatibility, have been successfully completed. Fleet installation is currently underway and is expected to be completed by the spring of 2005.
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