SAN DIEGO, Sept. 2, 2008 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) prepares to move forward with selective demonstrations after conducting the first flight of its company-owned MQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Unmanned Air System (VUAS) designated as "P6." The flight was conducted at the Webster Field Annex portion of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. P6 is part an on-going effort to expand upon the development capabilities of the MQ-8B Fire Scout.
"The first flight of P6 is a significant milestone showing that the company-owned MQ-8B Fire Scout is ready to support system demonstrations with a variety of payloads. We look forward to the opportunity to use our modular mission payload architecture to accelerate the integration and evaluation of payloads while performing mission demonstrations," said Rick Crooks, Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems P6 program manager.
Near-term plans include integration and flights with a maritime radar, a second electro-optical/infrared payload and various U.S. Army payloads. The P6 demonstration program will follow rigorous systems engineering processes to ensure success. Payload integration for all demonstrations will take place at Northrop Grumman's Unmanned Systems Development Center in San Diego. Demonstration flights will continue at Webster Field, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz.
The 20-minute first flight of P6 followed Fire Scout's routine Fully Autonomous Functional Flight (FAFF) mission plan of vehicle start, takeoff, flight, landing and shutdown. Upon command, the vehicle launched and proceeded to hover at the first pre-designated waypoint. The vehicle transitioned to forward flight, climbed out and moved through a series of waypoints. After capturing the final waypoint, the vehicle descended to a preprogrammed hover/hold position. Following the land command, the vehicle landed on the designated touchdown point. The successful mission concluded with an autonomous shutdown.
The flight was commanded from a Tactical Control Station (TCS) with software produced by Raytheon Systems Corporation in Falls Church, Va. Other key Fire Scout industry team members and contributors include: Cubic Defense Applications, FLIR Systems, Inc., GE Fanuc, GE Aviation, Kearfott Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, Rockwell Collins, Kell-Strom, Crater Industries, Swift Engineering, Red Barn Machine, Rolls-Royce Corporation, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Schweizer Aircraft Corporation.
Northrop Grumman's MQ-8B Fire Scout will provide unprecedented situational awareness and precision targeting support for Armed Forces of the future. Fire Scout can find tactical targets, track and designate targets, accurately provide targeting data to strike platforms and perform battle damage assessment. With vehicle endurance greater than eight hours, Fire Scout will be capable of continuous operations, providing coverage 110 nautical miles from any launch site.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.
CONTACT: Rene Freeland Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (858) 618-7606 firstname.lastname@example.org