Mary Petryszyn, corporate vice president and president of Defense Systems for Northrop Grumman as well as a 2022 Wash100 Award recipient, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz for the publication’s latest Executive Spotlight interview to discuss the impact of the company’s recent $1.4 billion contract award to produce the Army’s Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS).
In addition, Petryszyn also discussed Northrop Grumman’s experience with open systems and architectures as well as the company’s support of field hypersonic capabilities and other defense capabilities and services.
“One of the things that’s very important in connecting information together for decision making, looking at today’s environments, is the ability for our allied forces to interoperate together and network across all domains. It’s a critical aspect for meeting the challenges of modern threats from land, air, sea or even space.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Mary Petryszyn below:
ExecutiveBiz: Northrop Grumman was recently awarded a $1.4B contract to support the production of the Army’s Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS). Can you talk about the impact IBCS could have on the department of defense’s JADC2 initiative?
“IBCS is what we would call the centerpiece of the Army’s modernization strategy for air and missile defense. We designed that system to be open, modular, scalable and resilient. The architecture that IBCS is using is foundational for deploying an integrated network of available assets in the battle space.
That would be regardless of the source of information or the service that it’s associated with as well as what domain it’s in such as air or space. There are really clear benefits to JADC2. They are being demonstrated in exercises like the Army’s Project Convergence, as well as other exercises, to show an even broader impact that the architecture could have across domains.
These services grant the ability to connect existing products and sensors, so the users receive a force multiplier effect. That means existing C2 capabilities and concepts of operations can remain with an additional lift of access to broader information that can yield benefit to situational awareness and decision making.”
ExecutiveBiz: All-domain command and control solutions are capabilities that America’s allies also are seeking. How does Northrop Grumman’s experience with open systems and architectures like IBCS help meet that need?
“One of the things that’s very important in connecting information together for decision making, looking at today’s environments, is the ability for our allied forces to interoperate together and network across all domains. It’s a critical aspect for meeting the challenges of modern threats from land, air, sea or even space.
One of our allies leveraging IBCS today to lead the way in their integrated air and missile defense capabilities is Poland. We’ve been very fortunate for Poland to choose us and acquire IBCS for their air and missile defense modernization program.
They’re the first international partner country to acquire this transformational capability. As a result, Poland will be in the forefront of modernizing their air and missile defense forces on a similar timeline to the U.S. Army. That will ensure interoperability, not only with U.S. forces, but also with NATO.
We have the initial phase of award for Australia’s AIR6500 program. That program is still in competition and it will go through a number of phases. For today, we are one of the two down selected companies to be providing a capability for their air and missile defense needs as well.”
ExecutiveBiz: The U.S. DoD is looking to industry to help field hypersonic capabilities. How is Northrop Grumman supporting that need?
“I would start off with the broad suite of missile products and capabilities that we have such as high-speed hypersonic systems, high performance weapons systems and precision munitions. Some of our competencies including software and system development, the integration of weapon systems on platforms, tactical missiles, component development and production of advanced munitions and defense electronics. We’re quite capable in this space.
We’re partnered with other defense primes to ensure that our customers receive the most relevant and mission capable systems that they need. As a missile prime, we’re able to deliver what we like to call ‘full tip to tail’ capabilities. An example of that would be in cooperation with the Navy, we’re developing the extended range, advanced anti-radiation guided missiles (AARGM-ER).
That’s used to defeat enemy air defenses as well as protect our air assets. We leverage the work that our company has done in delivering the current AARGM system to the U.S. Navy and select allies along with our technical experience and digital infrastructure capabilities, which is built on a weapons open system architecture. We call that WOSA and it’s expediting development of new missiles.
The AARGM-ER incorporates system modifications that will extend its range, survivability and effectiveness against future threats. We’ve had very successful development tests to date and we’re under contract for initial production of that missile.
It is one that will definitely keep the customers that procure it very well positioned against advancing and future threats. In addition, we’re investing to create new missiles, including having demonstrated capabilities from those investments to meet key objectives for the Air Force’s upcoming stand-in attack weapon program.
We’ve been investing a fair amount in hypersonic capabilities, aligned with the interests we hear from different elements of the Department of Defense. We’re providing propulsion for hypersonic missile programs. We’ve made investments in modern, digital development and production facilities. Just recently, we launched our hypersonic capability center in Maryland.
We do much of our modeling and simulation and front-end development work in Florida. We’ve got testing facilities for those capabilities in New York. And we’ll be doing production of those capabilities out in West Virginia. We’re investing across the country. It should yield groundbreaking results.”
ExecutiveBiz: In addition to the new technologies we discussed, what other defense capabilities and services is Northrop Grumman’s defense business delivering?
“Space is a growing area. One of our other sectors is most responsible for that. They’ve been doing some fantastic work across the spectrum. The recent launch of the James Webb Space Telescope is an exciting example.
An important and critical capability that we deliver is in the global arena of sustainment and modernization. We provide full life cycle support on a wide array of air platforms, including autonomous as well as fixed wing platforms. We’ve done that for decades.
We have a proven history of delivering thousands of safe flying hours and keeping our customers’ fleets mission ready. Our sustainment and modernization expertise spans logistics support, fleet stewardship, modifications as well as upgrades, mission planning and pilot training. We also provide software and hardware design engineering and integration solutions.
You’ll hear customers talk about the area of persistent modernization, a more and more critical area, as the threat environment shifts and advances. We’re able to support customers in keeping their existing capabilities pacing those threats and staying relevant through persistent modernization.
Additionally, we are delivering advanced weapons and munitions technologies that add precision effects to artillery and gun systems that can increase their effectiveness without needing to develop and field new platforms. For example, our precision guidance kit transforms conventional artillery projectiles into precision weapons. That dramatically increases effectiveness, but also reduces the chance of collateral damage. We’re pretty proud of that.
In another area, we have new ammunition types that integrate airbursting and proximity fuzing that helps defeat difficult targets on the battlefield, such as the threat being posed by small drones. Having developed these advancements, we’ve paved the way for guided ammunition that will provide warfighters with the precision guided capabilities that they need at the tactical edge.
The final thing is that we have one of the most talented and creative teams that I’ve worked with in the defense industry. They’re laser focused on delivering capable quality systems to provide our customers what they need to ensure national security. I’m so proud to work with them. It’s what gets me up in the morning.”