FT. HUACHUCA, Ariz., March 17, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) recently demonstrated, through a series of ground and flight tests here, the capabilities of its new Hunter II unmanned system, the company's proposed system solution for the U.S. Army's Extended Range/Multi-Purpose (ER/MP) program.
The company completed the test series, which included more than 50 hours of flight time over 14 separate flights, on February 16 as part of the program's Systems Capabilities Demonstration (SCD) phase.
"Our Hunter II demonstrator air vehicles successfully completed a series of prescribed ground and flight mission scenarios for the ER/MP program including auto landing and take-off capabilities under both day and night conditions," said Bill McCall, Northrop Grumman's ER/MP program director. "We also demonstrated how easy it is to assemble, disassemble and perform maintenance tasks on the air vehicle, which will simplify logistic support for the Hunter II system."
Over a six-day flight period that included a discretionary day, Northrop Grumman demonstrated Hunter II's capabilities to take off and land autonomously; fly at the required speeds and altitudes; perform relay missions (using a second Hunter II demonstrator air vehicle); and deliver high-quality data and video imagery through its communications system. All the SCD missions were performed carrying a mission-ready sensor payload. The company also demonstrated air vehicle performance ranges in excess of 300 km and endurance in excess of 12 hours.
As part of the discretionary day, the company conducted several demonstrations to highlight Hunter II's complete system capability. These demonstrations included:
-- flights of a Hunter II demonstrator equipped with a heavy fuel engine; -- test flights carrying an electro-optic/infrared payload and an advanced synthetic aperture radar payload to perform ground moving-target tracking; -- integration of a weapons simulator followed by a simulated weapons drop; -- an advanced information architecture that allows dissemination of live or archived sensor data to multiple dispersed ground users using legacy communications systems; -- a demonstration of Hunter II's ability to exchange critical information with the Army's Battle Command System; and -- a demonstration using Northrop Grumman Cyber Warfare Integration Network sites in Huntsville, Ala; Melbourne, Fla. and Ft. Huachuca, Ariz. to show how Hunter II data can be integrated in real-time with other battlefield intelligence, both real and simulated.
"The Hunter II system builds on the battle-proven Hunter systems and infrastructure to provide a low-risk, easy-to-use, easy-to-maintain system that allows soldier-operators to focus on performing the mission, not flying the air vehicle," said McCall. "It includes an advanced communications architecture that supports the Army's transition from dedicated, centralized operations to a distributed command, control, communications and computer integration (C4I) network. It also offers significant life-cycle cost savings by taking advantage of existing Army doctrine, organization, training, material, leadership, personnel and facilities."
Northrop Grumman backs up its Hunter II unmanned system with highly experienced "system of systems" development, production and field support teams. The team is led 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, which include the U.S. Air Force's RQ-4A Global Hawk; the Army's RQ-5A Hunter; the RQ-8B 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/DARPA 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.
CONTACT: Brooks McKinney, APR Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (310) 331-6610 office (310) 864-3785 cell firstname.lastname@example.org