COBRA achieves Milestone C, G/ATOR to follow

The US Department of Defence’s Programme Executive Office for Littoral and Mine Warfare (PEO LMW) has given Northrop Grumman’s Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) system Milestone “C” approval.
COBRA is designed to support US Marine Corps (USMC) amphibious assault breaching operations.

The PEO LMW will now move the COBRA system toward low-rate initial production.

Northrop Grumman says COBRA is a designated mission system on the mine warfare mission package onboard the Littoral Combat Ship.
“One of four systems in Northrop Grumman’s airborne mine countermeasures systems product line, COBRA is designed to detect and localize minefields patterns and other obstacles from the beach exit zone through the surf-zone, safely, from the air, prior to amphibious assaults, to help assure Marines have access to their targets,” the company says in a statement.  
COBRA will be carried by an MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff Unmanned Air Vehicle (VTUAV). Other system components include a post-mission analysis station and the ground control station for the VTUAV.
“Our ultimate goal with COBRA — and all our mine-countermeasures systems — is to get the marines and sailors and soldiers out of the minefields and facilitate assured access,” says Bob Klein, vice president for Maritime and Tactical Systems for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems sector.
“COBRA’s performance in development tells us that we are much closer to that goal.
“The COBRA System recently completed laboratory integration and flight test. Results show COBRA meets or exceeds all key performance parameters — exceeding threshold and in some cases objective performance.”
Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman`s Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) programme, also for the USMC, has separately passed a key milestone with the successful conclusion of its formal Critical Design Review (CDR) at the company`s electronic systems sector headquarters.
“Radar technology represents the next generation of critical air and ground warfighting capabilities for Marine Corps and Joint Force Commanders,” said John Burrow, G/ATOR’s Technical Authority and Marine Corps Systems Command’s Executive Director, who chaired the CDR proceedings.

The CDR involved an extensive US government review to verify that the G/ATOR system design and development are proceeding as scheduled, that the G/ATOR detailed hardware and software designs are mature, and that the G/ATOR design meets US Marine Corps requirements.

The CDR was attended by more than 60 Marine Corps, Navy, Army and US Department of Defense personnel as well as civilian subject-matter experts.
“During the CDR, it was noted that an informal strategic alliance with other Navy programs was established shortly after contract award that enabled G/ATOR to successfully leverage from the Navy’s development efforts to further the Marine Corps’ own design and development,” the company saidin a statement.
“It was also noted that engineering teams from the Marine Corps and Northrop Grumman were able to leverage the open software design of the Navy’s AN/SPQ-9B radar system’s tracker and the open computing architecture of the G/ATOR system, to successfully incorporate sophisticated tracking software into the G/ATOR program in less than three weeks.”

Northrop Grumman is the G/ATOR prime contractor under a $256 million contract competitively awarded by Marine Corps Systems Command. Key team members include Sensis Corporation, Syracuse, N.Y.; Stanley/Techrizon, Lawton, Okla.; and Caterpillar Logistics, Morton, Ill.

G/ATOR is a highly mobile multi-mission radar that is replacing the functionality of five different heritage Marine Corps ground based radars.

It will provide advanced air defense, weapons cueing, counterfire target acquisition, and air traffic control capabilities in a small, rapidly deployable system. G/ATOR’s open system architecture is scalable to both the longer range applications typical of the Air Force and Navy radar requirements, and the shorter range applications required by the Army.