Northrop Grumman, February 08, 2005 - FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation has begun ground and flight demonstrations of the new Hunter II medium altitude endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) it has proposed as the U.S. Army's next generation UAV system.
The flights are being conducted at Libby Army Air Field here as part of a six-week-long flight demonstration between two competing air-vehicle designs selected for the Phase I System Capability Demonstration (SCD) phase of the Army's Extended Range/Multi-Purpose UAV program. The SCD program is designed to demonstrate the maturity of the proposed UAV designs.
"Northrop Grumman's Hunter II air vehicle will be 100 percent compliant with the ER/MP program's threshold requirements, and will demonstrate a heavy fuel engine configuration in advance of the Army's requirements," said Bill McCall, Northrop Grumman's ER/MP program director. "Our new Hunter II UAV system is designed to be operated and maintained easily by enlisted soldiers and non-commissioned officers, who already are familiar with the Hunter UAV. Its new avionics and communications capabilities will also provide Army land commanders with the situational awareness they need to 'see and exploit' the land battlefield in a timely manner."
Northrop Grumman's SCD activities include a variety of ground and test flights to evaluate the Hunter II demonstrator air vehicle's flight characteristics including speed, endurance, range and altitude. For the test program, the company is using three Hunter II demonstrator air vehicles, one of which is configured with a heavy fuel engine.
The SCD competition is expected to culminate in a Phase II system development and demonstration contract awarded to a single contractor in the second quarter of 2005.
Hunter II is a twin-boom, autonomous UAV that builds on the legacy of the battle-proven family of Hunter UAVs. It features a sensor suite that includes electro-optical/infrared and synthetic aperture radar systems; software architecture that can easily accommodate new payloads and data-handling requirements; state-of-the-art avionics; a weapons capability and a communications subsystem that allows it to share data seamlessly with current battlefield networks; and a fully automatic take-off and landing system.
Northrop Grumman's Hunter II industry team is lead by the company's Integrated Systems sector with support from Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems, Space Technology and Electronic Systems sectors. Other team members include Aurora Flight Sciences, Manassas, Va., which will provide vehicle design support and manufacture the air vehicles at its Starkville, Miss. facility; CAS Inc, Huntsville, Ala., which will provide client-based knowledge of weapons, integration, performance-based logistics support, and engineering test and evaluation; and Cubic Defense Systems Applications, San Diego, which will provide advanced interoperable data links.
Northrop Grumman is the leading producer of unmanned aircraft systems for the U.S. Department of Defense. Hunter II's modular architecture is designed to accommodate future advances in avionics technology, navigation systems, weapons management or air vehicle manufacturing and payload integration derived from the company's other UAV programs, including the U.S. Air Force's Global Hawk, the Army's Hunter, Fire Scout (being developed for Army and U.S. Navy use), and the stealthy X-47 Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems, currently in development for a joint Air Force/ Navy/Defense Advanced Research Project Agency team.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With more than 125,000 employees, and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.