SAN DIEGO, Feb. 12, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Integrated Systems sector continued its successful envelope expansion of the U.S. Navy Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned system with a four-hour mission Feb. 8, the longest flight test to date. Northrop Grumman now has conducted more than 35 flights in the ongoing test demonstrations since May 2002.
The latest mission demonstrated fully autonomous operations from engine start through takeoff, waypoint navigation, approach and landing, followed by engine shutdown. Flights are conducted at the Webster Field annex of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
During the mission, which was operated from the Navy ground control station, the tactical control datalink was used to uplink payload command and control and to downlink imagery. The ARC-210 datalink was used for air vehicle command and control. The ability of the operator to redirect the air vehicle in flight also was demonstrated as planned. Throughout the mission, the Fire Scout air vehicle successfully demonstrated three loiter patterns, 20 loiters and 60 waypoints under autonomous navigation.
The Fire Scout payload, supplied by Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems sector, Baltimore, Md., operated throughout the mission. The payload consists of electro-optical and infrared sensors and a laser designator/rangefinder, which provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery and data.
The Fire Scout's communications suite is designed to allow simultaneous voice/data relay much farther than the "line of sight" limits of current systems. This communications relay suite is part of the standard air vehicle configuration, and does not reduce the available capacity for primary mission payloads.
The Fire Scout system is in development and low-rate initial production by Northrop Grumman as a force multiplier for Navy forces at sea and Marine Corps forces ashore. Fire Scout can operate up to 20,000 feet, above deployed Marines and provide the capability to watch for threats within 150 nautical miles of the ground control station. The system can direct Navy and Marine weapons accurately to the target with precise target location coordinates or the laser designator.
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., is a premier aerospace systems integration enterprise with the capabilities to design, develop, integrate, produce and support fully missionized integrated systems and subsystems. Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services in support of chosen segments within the broad market areas of battlespace awareness, command and control systems and integrated combat systems.
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CONTACT: Jim Hart Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (310) 331-3616