Air Force, Northrop Demo an Open System For Manned, Unmanned Aircraft

Air Force, Northrop Demo an Open System For Manned, Unmanned Aircraft image
July 23, 2015 | Source: Kevin McCaney, Defense Systems

Northrop Grumman recently demonstrated a capability the Air Force and military researchers have been working on, using the Air Force’s Open Mission Systems architecture to integrate multiple systems and platforms, in this case involving the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.

In one test in June, Northrop integrated subsystems aboard a B-2 Spirit and a Global Hawk unmanned aircraft. More recently, it combined a B-2, Northrop’s Gulfstream G550 test bed and a battle management command and control (BMC2) ground node.

In that most recent test, for instance, the Gulfstream, configured for ISR (Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), detected a ground threat and broadcast the threat’s location via a (joint forces-compliant) Link-16 data link, the company said. The ground node picked up the broadcast and contacted the B-2, which used its Open Mission Systems (OMS) auto-routing function to adjust its mission plans and destroy the target. It was a simulated attack, but the Air Force said it demonstrated the feasibility of the OMS architecture.

"This demonstration paves the way for the B-2 weapon system to provide new operational capability well into the future at an affordable cost," Brig. Gen. Eric Fick, Program Executive Officer for Fighters and Bombers for the Air Force Materiel Command’s Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, said in a news release.


The Open Mission Standard Version 1.0 was released 30 April 2014 for inclusion on programs leveraging the goals of open architectures. For more information on OMS, see:

Virtual Distributed Laboratory (VDL) Open Mission Systems (OMS)