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UNMANNED SYSTEMS UPDATE

12 Jan 06. Northrop Grumman Corporation received the first MQ-8B Fire Scout UAV airframe from its teammate, Schweizer Aircraft Corp., on Jan. 3 at Northrop Grumman’s new Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss., signaling the start of aircraft production. This airframe is the first of 12 Fire Scout vertical take-off and landing UAVs that will be assembled at the Moss Point facility, which is co-located with the Trent Lott International Airport. The U.S. Navy will receive four Fire Scout UAVs and eight will be delivered to the U.S. Army.

12 Jan 06. Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Army have successfully conducted a series of flights of the RQ-5A Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) using a new payload that will allow warfighters to more quickly adapt to battlefield changes. The 10-day demonstration, sponsored by the U.S. Joint Forces Command, illustrated the ability to use the new Adaptive Joint Intelligence payload on Hunter UAVs to share multiple types of communications simultaneously; a capability that is not yet available to warfighters in the field. “This demonstration further illustrates the multi-purpose role of the Hunter,” said Nick Yorio, Northrop Grumman’s director of tactical programs. “The warfighter will be able to quickly retask or reprogram this software-driven payload as a communications relay, a signals intelligence-gathering device or an electronic-warfare tool.” The demonstration followed six weeks of test flights using the reconfigurable payload and two weeks of combined payload operations with an emulated airborne command post. Northrop Grumman’s RQ-5A Hunter UAVs have flown more than 14,000 hours on combat missions with the U.S. Army in the Balkans and Iraq.

18 Jan 06. The U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman Corporation wrote a new chapter in naval aviation history Jan. 16-17, when two RQ-8A Fire Scout unmanned aerial
vehicles (UAV) completed nine autonomous shipboard landings on board USS Nashville (LPD 13) off the coast of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

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