Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contact worth $120 million (€90 million) by the United States Air Force Electronic Systems Center to modernise the services’ Air and Space Operations Centers(AOCs) under the AOC Weapons System modernisation programme.
The modernisation effort will see Northrop Grumman reducing the lifecycle costs of the systems used in the AOCs, and automating information exchange procedures.
The AOC facilities provide command and control of air operations both within the United States, and beyond during deployed operations.
The USAF maintains nine AOCs in the United States at Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB), Florida; Barksdale AFB, Louisiana; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; Vandenburg AFB, California; Scott AFB, Illinois; Hurlburt Field AFB, Florida; and Lackland AFB Texas.
Beyond the United States, other AOC facilities exist at Ramstein AFB, Germany; Osan AFB, South Korea and Al Udeid AFB Qatar. These AOCs are equipped with the Theater Battle Management Core Systems which can be used to execute the air battle, and to draft the Air Tasking Order. Although theUnited States is remaining outside the NATO Air Command and Control System (ACCS) programme, which is modernising the Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOC) throughout the continental European membership of NATO, the AOC modernisation initiative will form an important part of ensuring that interoperability between the USAF’s AOCs and the CAOCs throughout NATO remains high.