Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Northrop Grumman's Hunter Unmanned Air System Successfully Completes GPS-guided Viper Strike Testing

Northrop Grumman's Hunter Unmanned Air System Successfully Completes
GPS-guided Viper Strike Testing
September 1, 2009

HERNDON, Va. - Sept. 1, 2009 - Northrop Grumman Corporation's
(NYSE:NOC) Hunter Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), in use with the U.S.
Army since 1996, has successfully completed testing of the new
GPS-guided Viper Strike (VS) weapons system at White Sands Missile
Range, N.M. GPS VS will soon deploy to theater on board Hunter in
support of contingency operations.

GPS VS aides the weapons guidance by providing proximity based
on coordinates while maintaining pinpoint accuracy with laser guidance.
While previous VS systems required the Hunter to be directly overhead,
GPS VS offers the advantage of nearly six miles of stand-off range. GPS
VS can also hone in on both moving and stationary targets.

The MQ-5B Hunter, which is currently deployed in contingency
operations, provides warfighters with state-of-the-art reconnaissance,
surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA), communications relay,
signal intelligence, and weapons delivery. Hunter recently surpassed
80,000 flight hours, 53,000 of which are combat-related.

"Once again, Northrop Grumman and the Army have proven just how
adaptable Hunter is, which is why we call it the Army's workhorse,"
said Karl Purdy, Northrop Grumman Technical Services' Hunter program
manager. "The addition of this improved smart munition with a proven
aerial platform is just one example of Hunter's flexibility and
adaptability. We are committed to working shoulder to shoulder with our
valued Army customer to continue to provide our nation's warfighters
with world-class ISR and signals intelligence."

The RQ-5A Hunter was the Army's first fielded UAS. The MQ-5B is
the next-generation Hunter, continuing a legacy of service to Army
corps, division and brigade warfighters. Flying over the battlefield
with its multi-mission optronic payload, the MQ-5B gathers RSTA
information in real time and relays it via video link to commanders and
soldiers on the ground.

The MQ-5B Hunter is distinguished by its heavy fuel engines, its
"wet" (fuel-carrying) extended center wing with weapons-capable hard
points and a modern avionics suite. The MQ-5B Hunter system uses the
Army's One System ground control station and remote video terminal. It
also carries a communications relay package to extend the radio range
of warfighters. A differential GPS automatic takeoff and landing system
was recently fielded to the UAS Training Battalion in support of Hunter

"For more than a dozen years the Hunter Unmanned Aircraft System
has been the most versatile tool in the Army UAS inventory, undergoing
continual upgrades and improvements to meet the needs of the warfighter
more effectively in several theaters of war," said Col. Greg Gonzalez,
Project Manager for the Army's Unmanned Aircraft Systems. "The
integration of the GPS Viper Strike on the Hunter is the most recent
example in a long list of rapid integration efforts made on that system
to better support our soldiers in combat and give them the tools they
need to succeed."

The MQ-5B features a robust, fixed-wing, twin tail-boom design
with redundant control systems powered by two heavy fuel engines - one
engine to "push" and another to "pull" the air vehicle. Another Hunter
capability is its relay mode that allows one Hunter to be controlled by
another UAV at extended ranges or over terrain obstacles typical of
those found in the Balkans and Afghanistan.

Hunter's toughness and reliability are unmatched as it maintains
an operational readiness rate over 95 percent in operational theaters.
It is an ideal platform for spiral enhancements and technology refresh
payloads. Recently Northrop Grumman integrated a new suite of avionics
for Hunter, including upgraded flight and mission computers, an
auxiliary power distribution unit, the LN-251 inertial navigation
system with GPS, a downsized data link system, and an APX-118 IFF
transponder. The avionics suite improves performance by reducing size,
weight, and power consumption of the equipment used to control the
aircraft and manage its critical subsystems.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security
company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products
and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems,
shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial
customers worldwide.

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