PATUXENT RIVER, Md., June 30, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- On June 27, Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) RQ-8A Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned air vehicle (UAV) demonstrated fully autonomous flight, operational flexibility and showcased the complete U.S. Navy system architecture -- demonstrating key Navy requirements including the tactical-control system, ground-control station and data transmission using a tactical common-data link -- during a two-hour flight demonstration at the Navy's Webster Field annex, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
In addition to Fire Scout's flight, the day-long demonstration included several other UAVs taking to the sky, and served as the kick-off for this year's Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's North American convention held in Baltimore.
The audience for the UAV demonstrations included military and government customers, and national and international media.
"This was a very impressive demonstration today," said Navy Capt. Paul Morgan, commanding officer of the Navy's UAV program office. "The Fire Scout really stood out because of the highly advanced capabilities the aircraft possesses. Especially impressive was Fire Scout's display of capabilities it brings to the table for our warfighters. It's clear by this demonstration that Fire Scout can do exactly what it's designed for -- extending the range in which we can gather crucial information during peace-keeping or wartime missions."
The demonstration included numerous passes along the flight line as well as non-line-of-sight operations which showcased Fire Scout's ability to operate autonomously in remote locations. Fire Scout also displayed streaming imagery of the audience onto a large screen, illustrating its real-time imagery-transmission capability, which is vital to the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions it's designed to perform for military forces.
The Fire Scout RQ-8A has logged more than 140 flight hours, and Northrop Grumman continues to operate the RQ-8A to reduce risk for the future RQ-8B configuration, which will offer greater endurance and payload capabilities.
The Fire Scout program's next major flight milestone is scheduled to begin in July when Northrop Grumman will begin weapons testing at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz. The weapons testing will continue through August.
Northrop Grumman is the leading producer of unmanned systems for the United States military with a portfolio that spans a broad spectrum of capabilities. Current systems in service, production or development include the combat-proven U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk and U.S. Army RQ-5 Hunter unmanned reconnaissance systems currently supporting the global war on terrorism; the BQM-34 and BQM-74 aerial targets; the RQ-8 Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing tactical UAV in development for the Navy and for the Army Future Combat Systems Class IV unmanned air vehicle program; the multi-role Hunter II proposed for the Army's next-generation, extended-range, multi-purpose UAV program; and the X-47 Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Air Force and Navy. The company is advancing its unmanned-systems capabilities in the areas of command and control, open system architecture, manned/unmanned interoperability, and software development.
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use in networks. For its government and civil customers worldwide, Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.
CONTACT: Tim Paynter Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (858) 205-7695 firstname.lastname@example.org