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Northrop Grumman in $7.3M defense contract for 'machine learning'

Northrop Grumman's Bethpage unit will work on a

Northrop Grumman's Bethpage unit will work on a contract for the U.S. Navy EA-18G electronic warfare jet. Credit: U.S. Navy

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Bethpage unit has won a $7.3 million contract to develop "machine-learning algorithms" for U.S. Navy EA-18G electronic warfare jets, the Defense Department announced.

"Machine learning," used in self-driving cars and recommendations on Netflix and Amazon.com, lets computers perform functions without explicit programmed instructions.

The contract for the "reactive electronic attack measures" program is designed to let the EA-18G Growler jam "agile, adaptive and unknown hostile radars" and let U.S. attack aircraft operate undetected.

The EA-18G is based on the airframe of the F/A-18 Hornet, an attack jet widely used by the Navy.

The contract, announced Wednesday, is expected to be completed by December 2019.

An initial $461,000 was allocated in fiscal 2018 for research, development and testing.

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