Northrop Grumman Corp. said it plans to bid for a contract to develop the U.S. Navy's newest maritime surveillance program, and separately announced it had been awarded three contracts with a combined value of $52.4 million


The Los Angeles-based defense contractor said on Wednesday that it will use a maritime version of its Global Hawk unmanned aerial surveillance plane as the as the centerpiece of its Broad Area Maritime Surveillance campaign.


The system can carry up to 3,000 pounds of payload comprising a variety of sensors optimized for searching, tracking and identifying targets and collecting data over coastal areas and open ocean, according to Northrop. The size and duration of the contract will not be clear until the Navy issues its final request for proposal, likely in January.


In a separate announcement, Northrop said it has received an $18.9 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to provide radar system spare parts for the B-1 bomber as part of a program to extend the life of the plane.


Northrop also won a 16-month, $25 million contract for continuing development work on an airplane communications network known as the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node. In addition, the company booked an $8.5 million, two-year pact to integrate communications on the F-22 Raptor fighter jet with other systems in the military.


Northrop shares were down 4 cents to $69.42 in afternoon trading.

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