The US Navy has awarded an $111 million contract to Northrop Grumman to upgrade and maintain its E-6B Mercury dual-mission aircraft.
The E-6B, a derivative of the Boeing 707 commercial aircraft, is part of the US Navy’s Strategic Support and Move Communications (TACAMO) mission.
Under the five-year contract, Northrop Grumman will enhance the command, control and communications (C3) functions of the E-6B aircraft.
The aircraft provides durable, survivable and reliable airborne C3 links between the National Command Authority (NCA) and the US Nuclear Triad in emergency situations.
Mary Petryszyn, president and vice president of Northrop Grumman Defense Systems, said, “We are focused on delivering the most relevant capabilities while improving mission readiness.
“As a leader in aircraft sustainment and modernization, the US Navy’s E-6B Mercury fleet is another example of our strong partnership with the Navy in achieving these goals.
Work related to this contract will be performed at the Company’s Aircraft Maintenance and Manufacturing Center in Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA.
According to Northrop Grumman, a consolidated production line will be created to make major modifications to the aircraft.
The company will also possibly carry out other small modifications and select depot maintenance tasks, if necessary.
Manufactured by Boeing for the US Navy, the E-6B aircraft is the upgraded version of the E-6A.
The E-6B aircraft is equipped with an Airborne Launch Control System (ALCS) to launch US land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Designed to operate in multiple frequency band communications, the E-6B can relay and obtain secure and non-secure voice and data information.
Collins Aerospace, a Raytheon Technologies company, announced in December 2020 that it had completed the upgrade of the US Navy’s E-6B Block I aircraft fleet.