Monday, February 15, 2010

Northrop Grumman's Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial System Demonstrates Critical Resupply Capability

Northrop Grumman's Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial System Demonstrates
Critical Resupply Capability
February 15, 2010

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has successfully demonstrated that its MQ-8B Vertical Unmanned Aerial System (VUAS) can resupply U.S. or coalition troops deployed on a combat mission.

The company conducted the autonomous proof-of-principle
resupply capability during the current Army Expeditionary Warrior
Experiment (AEWE) at Fort Benning, Ga. AEWE gives soldiers a first-hand
look at emerging technologies and concepts.

"Fire Scout's ability to deliver supplies autonomously
demonstrates its readiness to support troops in the field," said Al
Nikolaus, program director of land-based Fire Scout at Northrop
Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "It also highlights one of the many
advantages of a vertical unmanned aerial system. We have matured this
capability and we're eager to support our warfighters in theater with
the resupply of small-unit logistics that is so vitally needed."

For the AEWE mission, Fire Scout had two ruggedized containers
attached to external pylons. Fire Scout flew autonomously from take-off
to the cargo drop to landing. The VUAS also used its
electro-optical/infrared optical payload during the mission to practice
reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) techniques.
The ability to conduct simultaneous RSTA and logistics missions is
another unique Fire Scout capability.

Fire Scout is equipped with a payload interface unit, which
allows it to release the cargo pod without the presence of a soldier.
Fire Scout observed the landing area to confirm the area was free of
obstacles and personnel prior to landing. Upon landing, Fire Scout's
skid sensors detected contact with the ground. Upon touchdown, the
autonomous mission was preplanned for release of the cargo pod and
seconds later the aircraft took off again to continue its RSTA mission.

"Fire Scout's ability to operate at low ground speeds and
operate in remote, unprepared landing zones allows it to move with
warfighters in the field and easily acquire and track targets in
complex and urban terrain," said Nikolaus. "It's fully autonomous, and
swiftly performs the dull, dirty and dangerous missions without putting
soldiers in harm's way."

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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