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Press Release
Aero Engine, Space & Defense

Northrop Grumman and IHI Sign MOU to Work Together on Small Maneuverable Satellites
- Aim to contribute to national security space for the safe use of space -

IHI Corporation
Northrop Grumman

Seeking to contribute to national security space, IHI Corporation (headquarters at Koto-ku, Tokyo; CEO Hiroshi Ide; hereinafter “IHI”) and Northrop Grumman Corporation, a leading global aerospace and defense technology company (headquarters at Falls Church, VA; Chairman, CEO and President Kathy Warden; hereinafter “Northrop Grumman”), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at DSEI Japani  (being held at Makuhari Messe) to cooperate and work together toward providing small, highly maneuverable satellites for missions such as Space Domain Awareness (SDA) for Japan.

Many satellites indispensable for modern economic and social activities, such as meteorological satellites, quasi-zenith satellites, broadcasting and communication satellites, operate in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) and comprise a part of the social infrastructure. Servicing for these satellites is starting as a business, and while some satellites move in GEO in a friendly manner, there are also more satellites that move around suspiciously. For this reason, Japan’s National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy of December 2022 call for strengthening SDA and stipulate the need for SDA satellites, both from the perspective of ensuring sustainable economic activity as well as national security.

In order to contribute to the national security space of Japan, the United States and the world, IHI and Northrop Grumman have agreed to cooperate in activities toward providing small, highly maneuverable satellites for missions such as SDA for Japan. These satellites will utilize existing Northrop Grumman satellite busesii.

For over a decade, IHI has used its own facilities to provide space situational awareness data services for the safe operation of satellites. In recent years, IHI has invested attention to the movement of satellites in GEO in particular and has developed its expertise in this field. IHI group company IHI Aerospace (headquarters at Koto-ku, Tokyo; CEO Fumiharu Namiki; hereinafter “IA”) has long provided propulsion devices to Northrop Grumman’s commercial satellites and spacecrafts, and the two companies have a long history of cooperation and trust.

Northrop Grumman has a history of delivering ground and space products to monitor the space environment and aid in the detection, identification, and characterization of space objects. Northrop Grumman is a leader in rendezvous and proximity operations in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and GEO providing customers with critical logistics, servicing, and inspection capabilities across a wide variety of mission domains. 

“Recently, we have seen a rise in military surveillance efforts from other countries, which is becoming a national security threat. We need to characterize suspicious satellites to understand the threat,” said Fumiharu Namiki, Vice President, Aero Engine, Space & Defense Business Area, IHI Corporation and concurrently IA President. “Northrop Grumman’s demonstrated experience in this field and the long-standing cooperation between our companies makes them our best partner to pursue solutions to these problems. We will cooperate together to contribute to the stable use of space.”

“This collaboration combines IHI’s long heritage in Japan’s space business with Northrop Grumman’s unparalleled experience in SDA,” said Troy Brashear, vice president, national security systems, Northrop Grumman Space Systems. “We will rapidly work together towards  an affordable and effective SDA solution for Japan.”

IHI and Northrop Grumman will work together to contribute to the increasingly critical domain of space, in particular for sustainable space activities in GEO and global national security space.

About IHI Corporation
IHI Corporation is a major comprehensive heavy-industry manufacturer of Japan, tracing its roots to Japan’s first modern shipbuilding facility established in 1853. It has expanded its business ever since, in recent years providing wide-ranging solutions in the four main areas of Resource, Energy and Environment; Social Infrastructure and Offshore Facilities; Industrial Systems and General-purpose Machinery; and Aero Engine, Space and Defense. In the field of satellites, IHI Aerospace provides propulsion systems and devices, while Meisei Electric provides sensors for space companies and organizations such as JAXA. IHI has also worked recently to solve its customers’ problems by engaging in business using satellite information and data. 

About Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman is a leading global aerospace and defense technology company. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with the capabilities they need to connect and protect the world, and push the boundaries of human exploration across the universe. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 95,000 employees define possible every day.

i  DSEI Japan: Large-scale defense and security trade show held in Japan. The second edition is occurring March 15-17, 2023 at Makuhari Messe.

ii Satellite buses: Satellites are used for various purposes such as meteorology, communications, positioning, and earth observation. A satellite bus refers to the equipment/structure required to perform basic functions as a satellite, other than the equipment required for the various above-mentioned purposes. Using a satellite bus that has already been developed and operated enables reduction in development risk and manufacturing time.

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