Woodland Hills, CA The first unit of Northrop Grumman Corporation's newest fiber optic gyro-inertial navigation system, the LN-260, has been delivered to the U.S. Navy for flight testing on its F-5 Tiger II Adversary Fleet Support Fighter. Flight testing is scheduled to begin October 2007 and the upgraded F-5 fleet is scheduled to be operational in 2008.
"As part of an avionics cost-savings and reliability improvement kit for the F-5, our LN-260 fiber optic technology with a 24-channel Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver will enhance the performance and reliability of the F-5's avionics systems," said Mark Casady, vice president of Navigation and Positioning Systems at Northrop Grumman's Navigation Systems Division. "Its entry into flight testing is an important step in supplying an integrated upgrade solution that increases the reliability and performance of F-5 aircraft."
The Northrop Grumman F-5 Navigation/Radar Display kit replaces five legacy components comprising the navigation, navigation controls and radar display functions with two state-of-the-art line replaceable units. The kit includes the LN-260 and a new integrated Control Display Unit and radar display designed and developed by Interface Displays and Controls Inc. in Oceanside, Calif. Kits will be integrated into F-5 aircraft at Northrop Grumman's facility in St. Augustine, Florida.
"Replacing the decades-old inertial navigation system (INS), INS adapter, magnetic azimuth indicator, radar video indicator, and radar control will result in substantial repair cost savings," said Gary Mallaley, program director for the LN-260 product line.
The LN-260 is completely integrated with a 24-channel selective availability/anti-spoofing module (SAASM)-compliant embedded GPS receiver. The fully integrated, tightly coupled INS/GPS design provides superior performance relative to other embedded INS/GPS systems.
The LN-260 inertial navigation system uses an advanced fiber-optic-gyroscope-based inertial sensor assembly that is also successfully deployed on the LN-251, currently in high rate production at Northrop Grumman. Its modular open system architecture allows it to be easily adapted to new applications, to new system requirements and to improve performance of mission equipment and flight control systems.
The F-5N/F is a twin-engine, tactical fighter commonly used for adversary combat tactics by the Navy to simulate enemy aircraft in aerial combat training exercises. The F-5N is the Navy's newest variant of the F-5E single-seat fighter while the F-5F is a two seat variant used primarily for pilot training. Internationally, there are more than 1,000 F-5 E/F fighter aircraft in more than 20 countries with inertial navigation systems dating from the early 1970s or the early 1980s.
"We see a bright future for the LN-260 inertial navigation system," said Mallaley. "Flight testing on the F-5 will demonstrate how it can economically fulfill the retrofit needs of both the F-5 and a wide variety of existing U.S. and international military aircraft."
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company who's 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
SOURCE: Northrop Grumman - Cutting Edge Optronics