• Global Military Communications

Northrop Grumman’s LEO satellite payload for DARPA revolutionizes positioning, navigation and timing

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Blackjack program has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a contract for Phase 2 development of an advanced, software-defined positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) payload, with options to build units destined for space flight.

Northrop Grumman’s advanced, software-enabled positioning, navigation and timing payload has been developed to keep forces on target in difficult environments against advanced threats – even if the availability of existing satellite navigation systems are degraded or denied

The PNT payload work is led by Northrop Grumman’s Future PNT Systems Operating Unit in Woodland Hills. The team supports the DARPA Tactical Technology Office’s goal of achieving capable, resilient and affordable national security space capabilities from low Earth orbit (LEO).


“Northrop Grumman’s software-defined Positioning, Navigation and Timing technology will offer military users an agile new signal from LEO that is not dependent on existing satellite navigation systems,” said Dr Nicholas Paraskevopoulos, chief technology officer and sector vice president, emerging capabilities development, Northrop Grumman. “Warfighters depend on assured PNT for traditional missions like force projection and joint operations, but also for emerging autonomous and distributed missions."


The PNT payload features Northrop Grumman’s Software Enabled Reconfigurable Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Embedded Architecture for Navigation and Timing (SERGEANT) capability. The Phase 2 development effort is valued at US$13.3 million if all options are exercised through emulation, critical design and build.