Northrop Grumman and Leonardo join forces for future rotorcraft UAS opportunities

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Leonardo and Northrop Grumman are joining forces to jointly pursue opportunities in vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial systems.

Leveraging Leonardo’s expertise in rotorcraft and Northrop Grumman’s capabilities in advanced aeronautics and next-generation unmanned unmanned aerial systems, the companies will focus on jointly managing global opportunities in the aircraft market. UAS VTOL. Companies will consider collaboration on air vehicle design, system architectures, payload optimization and integration into next generation battlespace architectures, with a focus on customer requirements and mission-based concepts of operations.

The deal is the latest development in a successful long-term partnership between Northrop Grumman and Leonardo. The companies work closely together on the protection of airborne platforms. This collaboration dates back to 1995 when the team jointly developed the AN / AAQ-24 (V) Nemesis DIRCM for the US Department of Defense and the UK Department of Defense. Today, the companies are working to implement the U.S. military’s Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) program, which will protect hundreds of planes.

Northrop Grumman Australia and Leonardo Australia have partnered to provide a Maritime Unmanned Aerial System (AMIS) to the Royal Australian Navy under the SEA129 Phase 5 program, using the Leonardo AWHero and elements of the architecture system of the Northrop Grumman’s forward battlespace as the basis for a next-generation deployable intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting (ISR&T) capability.

Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said: “We see this partnership as an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the synergies between Leonardo and Northrop Grumman in the area of ​​VTOL and UAS technologies. This collaboration comes at a time when we see emerging military and civilian demands around the world in the unmanned realm. This partnership will enable a strong and concerted approach to existing and next-generation UAS VTOL technologies from two of the world’s leading aerospace engineering companies. “

Nick Chaffey, Managing Director, UK, Europe, Middle East, Northrop Grumman said: “Northrop Grumman has decades of experience and unmatched expertise in the development and delivery of autonomous and unmanned aerial systems, including the RQ-4 Global Hawk, MQ-8C Fire Scout, Firebird, a manned UAS, and the X-47B pioneer aircraft. Our collaboration with Leonardo will open up many possibilities for customers around the world as they seek to solve new challenges in a complex and unpredictable threat environment. “

Leonardo has developed remotely piloted systems and technologies in all areas, with significant investments in platforms, sensors, communications, control systems, in addition to counter-drone capabilities and technologies for the unmanned systems traffic management and air traffic control. Leonardo is the only company in Europe capable of providing complete unmanned solutions including the platform, sensors, mission system and ground control stations. The company also offers a “drones as a service” model to customers, owning and operating its own UAS fleets and providing intelligence and surveillance information directly to the user. The continuous development and integration of cutting-edge solutions in all areas of unmanned and autonomous / semi-autonomous systems and technologies is a key element of Leonardo’s BeTomorrow2030 strategic plan.

Autonomous systems developed by Northrop Grumman operate worldwide with a battery life of over 24 hours, collecting essential C4ISR data on land and at sea to enable rapid and informed decision-making. In addition to developing new air systems, such as the MOSQUITO project for the RAF, Northrop Grumman’s Distributed Autonomy / Responsive Control (DA / RC) system is a prototype Joint Command and Control System (JADC2). It can command and control a wide range of complex systems in all areas and services. This mature collaborative autonomy software provides decision-making superiority for a manned / unmanned fleet in a range of environments from permissive to highly contested environments.


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