1. Where might we find some of Northrop Grumman’s products and services in the Middle East and North Africa?
Northrop Grumman provides a range of products and services in MENA including LONGBOW fire control radars for the Saudi AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopter;AWACS surveillance radars for Saudi Arabia;Scalable Agile Beam Radars for the UAE Air Force F-16 Block 60 Desert Falcon; E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning and command and control aircraft for Egypt;and marine navigation systems for multiple countries in the region. Northrop Grumman also provides training and development for Saudi military personnel, notably technical services for the Ministry of the National Guard.
2. What are some of the emerging requirements in the MENA military and security sectors to which Northrop Grumman is responding?
Northrop Grumman provides world-leading capabilities in unmanned systems, C4ISR, cyber security, and logistics and modernization, all of which address emerging security requirements in MENA. For example, the spate of cyber-attacks against infrastructure and communications networks in the region make clear the importance of having sophisticated, active cyber security systems. Northrop Grumman has an entire suite of tools, systems and process activities designed to improve cyber security, and we understand that it must be built in from the start and not bolted on after the fact.
3. At 2015 IDEX, Northrop Grumman featured its full range of open, interoperable and cyber-hardened command and control and solutions including the Citadel Enterprise Battle Command System. What sets Northrop Grumman’s C2 solutions apart from others in this space?
The technology we bring to our command and control solutions is world class and we have decades of experience in this area, but what sets Northrop Grumman apart is an intense focus on understanding our customers’ requirements. As security challenges for individual nations and the region have become more varied and complex, the need to understand the customers’ objectives and tailor solutions accordingly is critical. While IDEX provides us with a platform to inform customers of our capabilities, it is an even important opportunity for us to listen and deepen our understanding of our customers’ needs. That’s something we’re committed to at all times, not just during IDEX.
4. Northrop Grumman’s IDEX exhibit included the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning and control tactical workstation. What has been the reception of MENA nations to the E-2D and what are the prospects for nations in those regions buying the Advanced Hawkeye?
While specific country interest would have to be addressed by each nation, we believe the E-2D is perfectly suited for the region. The aircraft’s advanced APY-9 radar sees through clutter to detect small targets over not just sea and shore, but land as well. It has the flexibility to land in numerous environments, and is a powerful tool in ensuring regional stability. In fact, E-2Cs are currently being operated in the gulf region by the U.S. Navy, to assist with the fight against extremism, and the Navy announced the first deployment of E-2Ds aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt on March 12.
5. How is Northrop Grumman partnering with academia and companies in the MENA to achieve collaborative solutions to technology challenges?
We have a variety of partnerships with academia all contributing to the shared goal of further strengthening and expanding opportunities for nationals to pursue careers in technical fields. These include university grants and student externships at leading universities around in the world and in the MENA region. Last year, our Global Externship Programme gave Saudi Arabian students studying in the United States exposure to career fields in cyber security, programme management and computer engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Another compelling example is the Innovation Challenge competition, which pairs Northrop Grumman mentors with students from the UAE’s Higher Colleges of Technology to tackle a real-world engineering project: designing, building and then flying autonomous unmanned aircraft. Innovation Challenge is a unique program that equips youth for new careers paths, supports the advancement of women’s participation in the labor force, and enhances the UAE’s global competitiveness. In April, Northrop Grumman is sponsoring the National Symposium for Command, Control and Cyber Security at King Saud University, which will offer a compelling picture of the advances achieved in the field of command and control and cybersecurity systems.
6. Are there any new and innovative systems and products Northrop Grumman will have available for the MENA military and security sector in 2015?
The Citadel Enterprise Battle Command System is a rapidly deployable and mobile command and control system that presents a ground-breaking approach to integrated air and missile defence. It is the type of forward-looking solution that directly responds to concerns MENA nations have identified. We unveiled Citadel at IDEX, and it generated considerable interest as customers immediately recognized the value of a system that is flexible and intelligently integrates the battle space for decision-makers.
7. Anything else to add?
IDEX continues to impress, both in the size of the show and it’s growing prestige. For Northrop Grumman, we were encouraged to see how effectively our focus country approach to the international market was working. With my counterpart, Walid Abukhaled, chief executive, Northrop Grumman Saudi Arabia, we were able to provide customers with an integrated view of Northrop Grumman’s capabilities. More significantly, we gained a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs, which is how the long-lasting partnerships we are building in the region are going to strengthen and meet national and regional security needs.
*SDArabia Correspondent in the United States