The concept could provide a close-in "missile defense bubble" around future combat aircraft like the B-21 Raider.
We have been talking a lot lately about some cutting-edge technologies that could be incorporated into the upcoming B-21 Raider stealth bomber or in other future stealthy aircraft designs. Seeing as evolving integrated air defense system technology will continue to slowly erode some of stealth's current advantages, electronic warfare, laser defenses, advanced decoys, and even high speed are potential applications that will bolster the survivability of future American air combat assets. But Northrop Grumman may have another trick up its sleeve—a pop out kinetic kill missile defense system that is especially well suited for installation on stealthy aircraft.
Think of it as something akin to an airborne Trophy active defense system used on armored vehicles, and a SeaRAM close-in weapon system (CIWS) battery used on naval vessels. The patent (#9,671,200) for the concept, which we first learned of from our friend and Americas bureau chief of Flightglobal.com, Stephen Trimble, during a long back and forth about peculiar aircraft models photographed on a Northrop Grumman executive's desk, was granted in June of 2017.
For additional information on patent US 9,671,200 B1, 6 June 2017, see this US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) link.