Northrop Grumman announced the delivery of the first E-6B Mercury Aircraft following a comprehensive modification effort under the integrated modification and maintenance contract for the US Navy. 

The completion of the project showcases Northrop Grumman‘s commitment to leveraging technology, streamlining future modifications, and bolstering the aircraft’s command, control, and communications capabilities.

Northrop Grumman completed the modification in approximately one year, marking a reduction from previous modification cycles that typically spanned longer. This expedited delivery paves the way for future modifications to be completed within six months.

As part of the integrated modification and maintenance contract (IMMC) awarded in February 2022, Northrop Grumman applied its technology-infused approach to modernization at its aircraft maintenance and fabrication centre in Lake Charles. 

The E-6B Mercury platform, derived from the commercial Boeing 707 aircraft, is vital in the Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) strategic communications mission. 

Operating across a broad frequency spectrum, the E-6B enables secure and non-secure voice and data transmissions, ensuring survivable, reliable, and enduring airborne command, control, and communications capabilities for the National Command Authority (NCA) and US strategic and nonstrategic forces.

Scott Pfeiffer, Vice President of Platform Sustainment and Mission Readiness at Northrop Grumman, emphasized the company’s commitment to supporting the Navy’s mission readiness and enhancing its strategic capabilities. 

He stated, “Northrop Grumman is leveraging cutting-edge technology in modernization, supporting the Navy’s mission to provide survivable, reliable, and endurable airborne command, control, and communications between the National Command Authority (NCA) and US strategic and nonstrategic forces for persistent mission readiness.”

With the successful completion of the first modification, Northrop Grumman has commenced capability upgrades, integrations, and tests on the second E-6B Mercury Aircraft. Previously, Rockwell Collins has also supported the E-6B Mercury aircraft.

According to a GlobalData report on “The Global Military Fixed Wing Aircraft Market 2023-2033“, The second leading supplier of military fixed-wing aircraft in North America is expected to be Northrop Grumman Corp. It is anticipated to hold a 12.2% share of the North American market over 2023–33.

Over the next few years, the company will continue to modify the Navy’s E-6B fleet, focusing on improving command, control, and communications functions that facilitate seamless connections between the NCA and the United States’ nuclear triad. 

Northrop Grumman plans to establish a consolidated production line dedicated to the core modifications outlined in the $111m IMMC contract to streamline production.