DARPA Spins Up Northrop Grumman UAV Efforts
Northrop Grumman Corporation will study an unmanned combat armed rotorcraft (UCAR) program that will provide enhanced reconnaissance and attack capabilities for U.S. Army aviation. The study constitutes a significant milestone to develop unmanned systems for the Army.
Under a $3 million award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the company's Integrated Systems sector will research the DARPA/Army UCAR program, which will combine autonomous operations and advanced command and control technologies with the advantages of vertical takeoff and landing capability.
Integrated with the Army's manned aircraft, the UCAR system will perform armed reconnaissance and attack missions, operating within the Army's Objective Force concept, effectively identifying and prosecuting targets that are camouflaged and concealed in close combat situations such as dense, mountainous and urban terrain.
"We have built a strong reputation as a leading integrator of autonomous unmanned systems," said Bob Mitchell, vice president, Advanced Systems Development for Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems.
"Leveraging technology from the successful Global Hawk, Fire Scout and our company-funded X-47A Pegasus technology demonstrator, we look forward to working with DARPA and the Army on the development and deployment of the UCAR system, a key element of the Army's transformation efforts."
The RQ-8A Fire Scout is an unmanned vertical takeoff and landing tactical system that is in low-rate initial production for the US Navy and Marine Corps. Earlier this month, Northrop Grumman successfully completed the first two flights of the third Fire Scout prototype, including a completely autonomous flight.
After completion of the 12-month UCAR concept development phase, DARPA will select two contractors for a preliminary design concept development effort, which is expected to last nine months.
The design concept development will be followed by a system development phase that will include the development and test of two demonstration vehicles. This will be followed by a system maturation phase, during which the contractor will develop and test a final system concept. The program is scheduled to transfer to the Army in 2009.
For the concept development phase, Northrop Grumman's UCAR team includes MD Helicopters, Carter Copters, BAE SYSTEMS, L3 Communications, Sabre Group, Signature Research, Natural Selection and Aero-Science Technology Associates.
Northrop Grumman's work on this award will be performed at its Integrated Systems facilities in San Diego and El Segundo, Calif.
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
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Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle Completes First Flight
Edwards AFB - May 23, 2002
The X-45A Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle technology demonstration aircraft completed its first flight here May 22.