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Northrop Grumman unveils E-XX TACAMO teammates

The US Navy's E-6B Mercury strategic command aircraft. (US Navy)

Northrop Grumman, which is vying to provide the US Navy's E-XX Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) strategic command aircraft, recently announced that its team includes Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, Crescent Systems Inc, and Long Wave Inc.

“Our team has put a lot of work into the initial plans and designs,” drawing on its extensive experience in developing weapon systems, Henry Cyr, director for multidomain command-and-control (C2) capture programmes at Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems, told Janes on 17 April. That experience includes Northrop Grumman being the longtime prime contractor for the navy's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye tactical C2 aircraft.

Northrop Grumman, which made the teammate announcement on 3 April at the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space 2023 conference in National Harbor, Maryland, is offering a modified Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for the E-XX, which will enable the US president to communicate with the navy's nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines. The navy intends to field nine E-XX aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of 16 E-6B Mercury aircraft.

The navy is expected to release a draft request for proposals in the coming weeks or months and award an engineering and manufacturing development contract in the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2025.

It is unclear what other companies might compete for E-XX. Boeing, the E-6B prime contractor, is not pursuing the programme, a company spokesperson told Janes on 7 April. L3Harris Technologies is “tracking the competition and evaluating how we can best support our navy customer,” a company spokesperson told Janes on 21 April.

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