Northrop Grumman has received a contract to design an advanced, open standards-based signals intelligence (SIGINT) sensor prototype.

The SIGINT sensor prototype will be designed for high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms.

The development will be carried out under the US Air Force’s (USAF) global high-altitude open-system sensor technology (GHOST) programme.

The open standards-based hardware and software architecture design of the sensor enables it to be configured to fly on different kinds of crewed and uncrewed USAF aircraft.

It also includes airborne and ground components.

Northrop Grumman networked information solutions vice-president and general manager Ben Davies said: “Leveraging our SAGE technology and 45 years of SIGINT mission expertise, our platform-agnostic GHOST sensor is a next-generation intelligence data collection and exploitation system.”

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Northrop’s GHOST sensor will allow the USAF to meet current ISR requirements.

Furthermore, the new sensor will support rapid system enhancement, testing, accreditation, and integration.

Currently, the GHOST programme is working with three vendors on a 12-month project to design prototypes. It has been designated as a Section 804 rapid prototyping programme.

All three vendor’s systems will be put through an open architecture evaluation in the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Open Architecture Technology Lab.

After this, a source selection will be conducted to choose one vendor, who will construct prototypes that can be flown.

Last month, Northrop Grumman provided a simulated mission software update leveraging USAF’s DevSecOps environment called Platform One.