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Posted: November 14, 2017 4:00 PM

Northrop Grumman Tests Next-Generation Acoustic Flank Array for Submarines

NEWPORT R.I. — Recent testing conducted by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center for Northrop Grumman Corp. under a Work for Private Parties agreement demonstrated that the company’s new hull-mounted acoustic Advanced Flank Array (AFA) addresses next-generation flank array requirements.

The new flank arrays feature innovation in production technology, resulting in a better value for the U.S. Navy. Northrop Grumman’s approach to manufacturing and inspection streamlines the manufacturing process.

Northrop Grumman invested more than $3 million to develop its alternative AFA product line and proved that the manufactured prototypes meet or exceed the Navy’s strict performance specifications. The company stands ready to support a variety of flank array programs.

“We’re not just designing systems for today’s fleet, but we are developing solutions with the future in mind- the missions, requirements and applications our submarine force will face over the lifetime of these ships,” said Alan Lytle, vice president, undersea systems business unit, Northrop Grumman. “We’re proud of our long history of sonar expertise and we will be honored to continue the legacy of ensuring undersea dominance for the U.S. Navy well into the future while providing affordable improvements for our customers and our nation.”

With a demonstrated commitment to “Life of Ship” design, Northrop Grumman has more than 50 years of experience perfecting underwater acoustic systems. Northrop Grumman is the only U.S. manufacturer that has designed, produced and delivered outboard flank arrays for the Virginia-class submarines, and has done so without ever missing a shipyard need date. After nearly 13 years since USS Virginia was commissioned for service at sea, reliability of the outboard flank array hardware manufactured by Northrop Grumman demonstrates the design and integrity of the outboard system, and is a testament to the quality, durability and performance of the company’s products.

Northrop Grumman’s proven track record in underwater acoustic systems production minimizes lifecycle system performance risk and positions them to be the low-risk prime contractor in support of next-generation flank arrays. The company’s open business model approach, which positions multiple vendors and manufacturers for each major component and subsystem to be fully qualified, provides the U.S. Navy with additional long-term cost advantages and risk reduction.

“While submarine builders are laser-focused on designing and delivering the world’s best submarines, we stand ready to provide those boats with the world’s best and most advanced hull-mounted sonar systems,” Lytle said. “We are committed to giving our Sailors every advantage, and supporting their increasingly complex and varied missions close to home and around the world.”



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