Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Northrop Grumman's Hunter Unmanned Aircraft System Equipped with Tactical Common Data Link

Northrop Grumman's Hunter Unmanned Aircraft System Equipped with
Tactical Common Data Link

HERNDON, Va. - Dec. 23, 2009 - Northrop Grumman Corporation
(NYSE:NOC) has equipped and fielded Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL) on
a U.S. Army Hunter MQ-5B Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), which has been
deployed in support of the Afghanistan surge. The TCDL increases data
transfer rates and doubles the communications range on the MQ-5B
Hunter, enabling additional payload capabilities.

With the addition of the TCDL, Hunter now complies with
requirements for all modern UAS aircraft to have encrypted data and
video links. The TCDL also serves as a foundation of establishing
interoperability among different U.S. Department of Defense air
vehicles and ground stations. Such innovation also allows for manned
aircraft to use unmanned aircraft, their sensors and weapons as an
extension of their own capabilities keeping aviators out of harm's way.

TCDL also allows for smoother integration of present and future
Hunter payloads that exchange digital data using airborne ground
computers. With additional digital payloads in the future for Hunter,
the warfighter can expect an air vehicle that can bring multiple
sensors to bear on an area of interest to the battlefield commander
allowing for more rapid intelligence gathering, monitoring and even
targeting of enemy forces.

"When we changed from the RQ-5A to the MQ-5B configuration of
Hunter, we doubled the endurance of the air vehicle. And with the data
link transition, we have doubled the communications range giving the
warfighter a much larger area of coverage," said Drew Telford, Northrop
Grumman Technical Services' TCDL program manager. "As we enter our 11th
year of deployed service in support of the U.S. Army, the entire
Northrop Grumman Hunter team is keenly focused on bringing new combat
multiplier capabilities to the warfighter faster than the traditional
programs of record can."

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.

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.

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 Hunter at extended ranges or over terrain obstacles typical of
those found in Afghanistan.

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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