A demonstrator for the U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (Bams) UAV crashed near NAS Patuxent River on June 11. The UAV crashed into swampland about 20 miles east of the base and was destroyed, after what the Navy described as a routine flight. The accident came just four days before Northrop Grumman unveiled the first MQ-4C, the full-specification Bams UAV, at Palmdale, Calif.
Broad Area Maritime Surveillance
Northrop Grumman gained a $1.7 billion (€1.2 billion) contract to supply five Block 40 Global Hawk UAVs with advanced multi-platform radar technology insertion program (MP-RTIP) radars for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program.
Northrop Grumman has gained a large new contract from the U.S. Air Force to supply its large aircraft infrared countermeasures (LAIRCM) system for fixed-wing platforms. In February it was one of two contractors the Army selected to demonstrate a next-generation common infrared countermeasures (CIRCM) system for helicopters and other aircraft, although a bid protest has stalled that program.
News highlights from the Singapore Air Show this week: Lockheed Martin announced a new version of the evergreen F-16 fighter designated F-16V. It includes the upcoming AESA radar upgrade as well as a new mission computer and cockpit display.
Still stunned by the Pentagon’s scrapping of the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk Block 30 program, Northrop Grumman said here at the show yesterday that it’s too early to determine whether the decision will impact the cost of other Pentagon UAV programs based on the big-winged jet. The Block 20 Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), the Block 40 Multi-Platform Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) and the U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) programs were all unaffected by the decision.
The appearance of the marinized variant of the General Atomics MQ-9 Predator B at the recent Paris Air Show heralds an export drive for the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to European NATO countries, as well as Australia, Japan and other prospects. The aircraft at Paris belonged to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which has named it the Guardian.
Fifteen years after the concept was first mooted, NATO may finally acquire an alliance ground surveillance system (AGS). Northrop Grumman last month submitted a firm baseline proposal plus options on behalf of a transatlantic consortium that also includes EADS, Selex Galileo and a variety of smaller European companies.
The Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout, a vertical takeoff unmanned air system (VTUAS), began its first operational deployment with the U.S. Navy last month. Two vehicles are currently embarked on the guided-missile frigate U.S.S. McInerney (FFG 8) for a six-month cruise operating alongside a Sikorsky SH-60B on counter-drug operations in the eastern Pacific. Compatibility trials with the frigate got under way last December.
Versions of the Global Hawk are proliferating, with five now in service or development for the U.S., as well as the Euro Hawk for Germany and another for the NATO-AGS (air/ground surveillance) requirement.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied a protest by Lockheed Martin over the U.S. Navy’s selection of the Northrop Grumman RQ-4N Global Hawk UAV for the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) contract. The ruling allows Northrop to proceed with the $2.3 billion system design and development phase of BAMS.