N-G Wins $38M Prime Contract for US Anti-Mortar SystemOct 27, 2005 16:22 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
Back on June 29, 2005, DID covered the potential use of modified Phalanx weapons systems to counter mortars fired by insurgents et. al. That program appears to have taken a step forward; the U.S. Army selected Northrop Grumman Corporation as the prime contractor for the Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) Integration and Fielding contract. Under this $38 million contract, Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems sector is developing a systems architecture and integrating the C-RAM target acquisition, fire control, warning and engagement subsystems.
Here’s how it’s expected to work:
C-RAM will uses target acquisition sensors, including ThalesRaytheon’s AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder radar and SRC’s Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar, to detect and track fired rounds. Once a threat is detected, audio and visual alarms sound to warn exposed soldiers. Meanwhile, the fire-control subsystem predicts the mortar’s flight path, prioritizes targets, activates the warning system, and provides cueing data to target the mortar round while still in the air.
The fire-control subsystem Northrop Grumman Mission Systems provides for C-RAM uses software modified from FAAD C2 (Forward Area Air Defence, Command & Control), which ties together the sensors and weapons of the Army’s short-range air-defense battalions. FAAD C2 is operational throughout the world, including homeland security efforts in the Washington, DC area.
This appears to be a spiral development contract, with fielding of interim solutions as development progresses. The company will first deploy a mortar-attack warning capability, and install that capability at eight forward operating bases in Iraq. Northrop Grumman Mission Systems will also train soldiers to use the system, and will integrate an intercept subsystem as it is fielded.
The contract is managed by the Director, Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar in the Army’s Program Executive Office: Command Control and Communications Tactical. See corporate release.