Center. This program demonstrates the relevancy of civilian technology for military uses and is a good example of cooperation. The same attendee continued by saying he thought it was a good thing that DARPA had taken this technology and pursued it further, developing it into a large program. Welby noted that a key aspect of cooperation was the ability to obtain the best and brightest from a variety of sources. DARPA's success and its unifying trait is to maintain a continual flow of bright project managers with excellent ideas, excellent backgrounds, and excellent experience. Such individuals lead to outstanding teams. DARPA has been successful at attracting those kinds of individuals from other organizations and backgrounds. DARPA is happy to work with them over a 4-year period, but it relies heavily on a much larger community to help develop their technical competence.
Bobby Joe, from the J-UCAS program at Northrop Grumman, began his presentation by providing information about the company and its recent growth. The company’s products are very diverse, ranging from submarines and surface ships to aerosystems and satellites to electronics. Some examples are the B-2 bomber, the F-18 fighter, the E-2C Hawkeye airborne early-warning command-and-control aircraft, and the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS). He then began his main topic—DARPA’s J-UCAS program and Northrop Grumman’s path to the recently awarded operational assessment contract for this program. This award, according to Joe, was the result of a government and industry cooperative process. Without this cooperation, Northrop Grumman would still be stalled in the bureaucratic process of negotiating the requirements and price.
The J-UCAS program is a very significant program for Northrop Grumman, and it fits in the overall strategy of the corporation and its vision for network-centered warfare. The J-UCAS team includes not only Northrop Grumman and many of its component companies but also other corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, and GKN.
Joe then provided a synopsis of the competition and award process. Northrop Grumman was already under contract to design and produce air vehicles to demonstrate certain capabilities of unmanned platforms. From the company’s perspective, it was a medium-size project that would keep it in the unmanned vehicle business. In late 2003, DOD Under Secretary Michael Wynne issued the directive to form a J-UCAS program office and conduct an operational assessment by fiscal year 2007. DARPA was appointed the government agency to manage this program. In February 2004, DARPA announced its plan to redesign the program, with implementation scheduled in July of the same year. This was an aggressive time frame, less than 6 months, for developing the requirements for the system and for having contractors in place, a task that usually takes from 12 months to 18 months to accomplish. However, through DARPA's cooperative process, contractors were enlisted to develop the requirements. The potpourri of requirements were those submitted by the two main services that would use the vehicle: the Air Force and the Navy. DARPA program managers then used these inputs to develop the specific requirements for the system.