US manufacturer able to participate in opposing teams under conditions of TRW merger

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have squared off for the US Air Force's $7 billion Space Based Radar (SBR) competition. Two weeks after Lockheed Martin named Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector to its team, Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector - formerly TRW - has announced its own team, which includes BAE Systems, Boeing, General Dynamics and Raytheon.

The air force plans to award one or two 24-month, $230 million concept-definition contracts next month. In the second half of 2005, following a system design review, one team will be selected to build and deploy a constellation of satellites capable of ground moving-target indication, synthetic-aperture radar imaging and high-resolution terrain-elevation data collection. First launch is scheduled for 2012.

Northrop Grumman was encouraged to participate in both teams under the conditions set by the US government in approving its 2002 merger with TRW. Under the Northrop Grumman-led bid, Boeing is responsible for the space segment, Raytheon for mission management, GD for data processing and BAE for information storage and retrieval. Under the Lockheed Martin bid, Northrop Grumman is leading definition of the SBR payload.

The SBR project is emerging as a competitor for funding against the air force's planned E-10A Multi-sensor Command and Control Aircraft within the US Department of Defense.

Source: Flight International