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Northrop Grumman’s Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) is scheduled to make i...

Next-generation airships are notorious for always being just around the corner, almost but not-quite ready to take to the skies. According to a report in Wired, however, Northrop Grumman’s military Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) has been scheduled to make its maiden flight early next month.  Read More

The Gamma laser was tested against the skin and components of a BQM-7 drone

Practical laser weapons came another step closer to reality recently as defense contractor Northrop Grumman tested the latest version of its Firestrike solid-state lasers. On May 1st, the company announced that it had completed trials at its Redondo Beach laboratory of a more powerful and rugged generation of its slab lasers, that combine with improved sensor capacities to create a general laser component that can provide the military with a wide range of greatly enhanced defensive and offensive laser capabilities.  Read More

The Northrop Grumman RQ-8A Fire Scout UAV helicopter is the test platform for the MMSS (Im...

Piracy on the high seas of the 21st century requires 21st century solutions. As part of the on-going effort to curb attacks on shipping, the United States Navy will use a UAV helicopter to test a new sensor system in the waters off California during the summer of 2012. This new 3D sensor package in combination with new computer algorithms will allow the Navy to more accurately identify pirate vessels hiding among innocent shipping on the sea lanes with much greater speed and much less manpower.  Read More

A General Atomics MQ-9 (aka Predator B, Reaper or Guardian) UAV drone's flight duration co...

Nuclear-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that would increase operational flight durations from days to months are a technological possibility today, according to a feasibility study undertaken last year by Sandia National Laboratories and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. A nuclear power supply would additionally double the availability of electrical power to onboard systems, including weaponry, the study found.  Read More

What a 'space tugboat' incorporating a high energy solar electric propulsion (SEP) system ...

Last year, NASA announced it was seeking proposals for mission concept studies of a high-power solar electric propulsion (SEP) system that could be used in a "space tugboat." Such a ship would be used ferry payloads in low Earth orbit (LEO) into higher energy orbits, saving on fuel and the use of expensive secondary boosters. NASA also anticipates an SEP system could be used to propel spacecraft into deep space for science missions and for the placement, service, resupply, repositioning and salvaging of space assets by commercial operators.  Read More

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System flying with its landing gear up during a test flight ...

Having completed its first flight earlier this year, the Northrop Grumman-built U.S. Navy X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft achieved another milestone on September 30 with its first flight in cruise mode. Part of the on-going “envelope expansion” program to demonstrate the aircraft’s performance under a variety of altitude, speed and fuel load conditions, the flight took place at Edwards Air Force Base and saw the aircraft retracting its landing gear and flying in cruise configuration for the first time.  Read More

The US Navy has successfully flown its MQ-8B Fire Scout UAV on a blend of JP-5 aviation fu...

The US Navy has successfully flown its MQ-8B Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) on biofuel. The unmanned helicopter became the Navy's first UAV to use biofuel technology when it took-off on Friday over Webster Field in St. Inigoes, Maryland, running on a blend of JP-5 aviation fuel and plant-based camelina. The Navy says that the use of this blend cuts carbon dioxide output by 75 percent when compared to conventional aviation fuel.  Read More

First flight for MP-RTIP equipped Global Hawk (Photo: Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman's Block 40 Global Hawk has new eyes. The unmanned aircraft completed its first full system flight carrying the production version of the next-gen Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) sensor at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on July 21.  Read More

SBIRS GEO-1 Missile Warning Satellite Delivering Unprecedented Infrared Surveillance Capab...

The first Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous (GEO-1) spacecraft launched a month ago, has begun delivering infrared imagery to the SBIRS ground station. The satellite includes highly sophisticated scanning and staring sensors that will provide wide area surveillance of missile launches and natural phenomena across the globe, while the staring sensor will be capable of observing much smaller areas of interest with vastly increased sensitivity. The system will massively enhance the U.S. military’s ability to detect missile launches around the globe, significantly improve technical intelligence gathering capability, and increase situational awareness on the battlefield.  Read More

The Firebird was designed to be flown either manned or unmanned

Although the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as Global Hawk and Raven for military information gathering has increased sharply in the last decade due to the maturation and miniaturization of enabling technologies, conventional piloted aircraft can still be a better option depending on the mission at hand. Northrop Grumman has unveiled a new intelligence gathering aircraft called the Firebird that falls into the category of an Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV) with its ability to be flown robotically or with a human pilot on board.  Read More

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