The support is specifically for a program called Integrated Topside, or InTop, which aims to reduce the number of multiple topside apertures that naval vessels use.
Northrop said a new suite of software and hardware for electronic warfare, information operations and line-of-sight communications would reduce the number of antennas on ships while increasing bandwidth and resolving electromagnetic interference and compatibility issues.
The $66 million option award -- from the U.S. Naval Research Office -- is for the continued development, fabrication and integration of an Advanced Development Model. The ADM will use common, modular, open and scalable hardware and software.
The option follows completion of the base phase of the ADM project.
The ADM will support technology development criteria for NAVSEA's Ships Electronic Warfare Improvement Program Block 3.
A $3 million contract was given for the development of a low-level resource manager and other infrastructure software.
"InTop leverages Northrop Grumman's expertise and investment in wideband AESA (Advanced Electronically Scanned Array) and multifunction radio frequency technology demonstrated in support of the final design review of the 12-month base phase," said Susan Bruce, director of advanced development programs for the company's Advanced Concepts and Technologies Division.
"The system uses a modular open systems approach. This allows for ease of integration and continuous technology refresh, which supports the ability of the system to quickly adapt to evolving threats."
Northrop said work under the two awards will be performed simultaneously and the ADM will be delivered in 2013.
Northrop's development team includes ITT's Radar, Reconnaissance and Acoustic Systems Division, ArgonST, L-3 Narda and Crane Electronics.