Northrop Grumman Developing Expendable UAV for Office of Naval Research
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
LINTHICUM, Md. — A small, expendable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been developed for Northrop Grumman under a project of the Office of Naval Research to demonstrate manned/unmanned teaming of the UAV and “mother ship” aircraft, such as an EA-18G electronic attack aircraft. The concept would give launching aircraft a standoff capability to provide survivable surveillance with a variety of sensors.
John Thompson, naval aviation campaign manager for Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, speaking Dec. 5 during a media tour of the Northrop Grumman facilities, said the UAV — designated “Remedy” by the company — had been flown twice in October during a demonstration in South Carolina.
The Remedy is a small UAV with a wingspan of approximately 12 feet and is powered by a piston engine driving a two-blade propeller. The spring-loaded wings pivot back on a pin, and the stabilizers fold as well. The UAV is housed in a pod — in the display is one that resembled a Rockeye cluster munition dispenser — and is lobbed from an aircraft up to 20 nautical miles to an area of interest. A chute pulls the UAV from the pod, the wings and stabilizers spring open, and the UAV begins it programmed search pattern. The UAV can remain aloft for 60 hours, Thompson said, and can be sent in swarms.
The concept calls for the UAV to carry one or more sensors with a data link to send to and receive data from the mother aircraft or other platform. The current data link for demonstration purposes uses a commercially available frequency.
During the October tests, the Remedy was launched from a Bombardier test aircraft owned by Northrop Grumman.
The Remedy is custom-built by VX Aerospace in concert with North Carolina State University and the University of South Carolina.
Thompson said the small size of the Remedy gives it survivability in a high-threat environment from surface-to-air missiles targeted against tactical jets if the UAV also is programmed to fly above small-arms range.