Northrop Grumman Corporation and Aeronix, Inc. have been selected to build a secure connective networking layer in space that will help enable the US Department of Defense (DoD) vision for the joint force.
The companies will develop a Space End Crypto Unit (ECU) prototype that will connect platforms and weapons in low earth orbit (LEO) across common architecture, providing added network security to critical missions for the Space Force. Northrop Grumman’s prototype is a flexible, high throughput design based on a single chip, reprogrammable solution and is expected to provide a connected network solution that helps warfighters make decisions faster across a full range of platforms.
“Our open architecture space mesh networking prototype enables new capabilities in Space Layer Networking to address emerging and evolving customer needs,” said Kevin Berkowitz, director, network solutions, Northrop Grumman. “This offering provides data, communications connectivity, and cryptographic processing at mission speed – a critical element of connecting the joint force.”
Northrop Grumman collaborated with Aeronix to incorporate high-speed encrypt/decrypt firmware, designed and tested to National Security Agency standards. Leveraging a crypto development kit, Northrop Grumman proved that third-party developers can further contribute to the already rich library of cryptographic algorithms. As part of this new award, this capability will be implemented onto the Space ECU prototype for delivery in 2024.
As the DoD seeks to connect the joint force, Northrop Grumman’s networking capabilities play a vital role in providing secure global connectivity. Recent demonstrations of the Software Programmable Open Mission Systems Compliant radio terminal have successfully connected third-party industry providers and securely shared information in a platform agnostic, all-domain environment.