SAN DIEGO, June 18, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle (VTUAV) program has achieved another milestone by successfully completing the U.S. Navy's acceptance test of the system's ground control station (GCS) ahead of schedule. The GCS is designed to command and control the Fire Scout air vehicle in support of Navy littoral operations from all air capable ships.
The GCS is now ready for system level, end-to-end testing to include command and control of the Fire Scout technology demonstrator air vehicle later this year at Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif. The air vehicle began flight testing May 19 at China Lake and has successfully completed four flights to date. Flight tests leading up to full system capability will continue into 2003.
Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector, the prime contractor for the Fire Scout system, also is responsible for design, construction and integration of the GCS.
Using the Navy's S-280 ground control station shelter, the June 12 test verified integration of all GCS elements including the Rockwell Collins ARC-210 radio, the L3 Communications tactical common data link, Sierra Nevada Corporation's UAV common automatic recovery system, the Raytheon Company's tactical control system software and Northrop Grumman's datalink control processor software.
This ground control station is the first of four to be delivered under the Fire Scout engineering and manufacturing development and low-rate initial production contract. Final integration and testing of the ground control stations are conducted at Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems facility here.
The Fire Scout team recently completed the design, construction and integration of a U.S. Marine Corps S-788 GCS mounted on a HMMVVV ("humvee") for several upcoming technology demonstrations, including at the Farnborough international air show.
Fully autonomous, the Fire Scout Air Vehicle provides intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting within 150 nautical miles of the ground control station and gives commanders a clear real-time view of the battlefield using infrared sensor or electro-optical video. The system has the capability to then direct Navy and Marine weapons accurately to the target with precise target location coordinates or via the payload laser designator.
The air vehicle's position, direction and sensor orientation are instantly recognizable to the two GCS operators, and computerized "point and click" mission planning makes operation virtually error-free. The air vehicle responds to mission changes in midflight, allowing flexibility in meeting the commander's needs.
Fire Scout was designed to respond to emerging Navy and Marine Corps requirements and to replace the aging Pioneer UAV.
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise. Integrated Systems has the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support complete systems, as well as airframe subsystems, for airborne surveillance and battle management, early warning, airborne electronic warfare and air combat aircraft. It is also integrating these capabilities for emerging network-centric warfare concepts.
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CONTACT: Cynthia Curiel Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (858) 618-4355