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Four Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Achieve Autonomous Flight Milestones

Four Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems Achieve Autonomous Flight Milestones

San Diego, California -- (Northrop Grumman) December 19, 2002 -- Four different Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) unmanned air vehicles (UAV) achieved flight milestones over a recent 10-day period, demonstrating the company's experience with a variety of autonomously controlled unmanned systems.

From Nov. 17 through Nov. 26, the company's RQ-4A Global Hawk, RQ-8A Fire Scout, Miniature Air-Launched Interceptor (MALI) and BQM-74E unmanned systems demonstrated various levels of autonomous flight control at speeds from low subsonic to supersonic, at altitudes up to 60,000 feet, and in air vehicle configurations ranging from fixed wing to rotorcraft.

"Four flight milestones for four different air vehicles over such a short period illustrate why Northrop Grumman is a world leader in the sophisticated technologies necessary for the integration of effective, reliable unmanned systems," said Martin Dandridge, vice president, Unmanned Systems, for Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems. The sector's Unmanned Systems work is based in San Diego.

-- On Nov. 17 and again on Nov. 22, the U.S. Air Force/Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk completed a successful flight test of a high-altitude, long-endurance electronic intelligence (or ELINT) sensor provided by EADS, which is working in cooperation with Northrop Grumman on the Euro Hawk system. Based on Global Hawk, Euro Hawk conforms to an urgent German demand for airborne long-range surveillance and reconnaissance. The flights at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., demonstrated the ELINT sensor's ability to reliably disseminate information via data link from the sensor on board the air vehicle to the ground station in preparation for a Global Hawk ELINT demonstration scheduled in the spring of 2003 in Germany. The German Ministry of Defense is considering Euro Hawk as a replacement for the current German signals intelligence system that will be phased out beginning in 2008.

-- On Nov. 22, the U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman RQ-8A Fire Scout team successfully completed the initial two flights of the first engineering and manufacturing development air vehicle (E-1) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. The E-1 flights mean Northrop Grumman now has two Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical vehicles in flight demonstration, both in the full production configuration. A prototype demonstration vehicle, P-3, has completed more than 20 flights since its first one in May, and the test team continues to expand Fire Scout's flight envelope. The Fire Scout system is in development and low-rate initial production as a force multiplier for Navy forces at sea and Marine Corps forces ashore.

-- On Nov. 26, MALI successfully completed its first supersonic free flight at Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake, Calif. The flight, which met all test objectives, achieved a major milestone toward completion of the company's work under this advanced technology demonstration program for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. MALI is being developed to demonstrate the ability to intercept incoming cruise missiles in air-to-air engagements.

-- Finally, Northrop Grumman BQM-74E aerial targets performed complex low-altitude maneuvers as low as seven feet above the ocean surface during routine presentation flights for the Navy, further demonstrating the capabilities of these UAVs, which have been in production since the 1960s. In addition, on Nov. 26, the Navy announced the award of a $24.5 million contract for procurement of 77 additional BQM-74E targets and 220 mission equipment installation kits.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration enterprise with the capabilities to design, develop, 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.

  • Contact: Cynthia Curiel, Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, (818) 618-4355

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).