LEMV successfully completes first flight
Northrop Grumman has confirmed, along with Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited, that the US Army’s Army's Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) has successfully completed its first flight. The 90 minute flight took place in early August at Lakehurst, NJ.
Northrop Grumman said the flight marks the commencement of the flight test programme, following a design and development programme of just 24 months.
The LEMV is the world's largest, most-persistent, lighter-than-air optionally piloted aircraft. The company commented on the aircraft, saying it will ‘establish a new standard for a long-endurance, persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability over the battlefield’.
The aircraft will provide ISR capabilities to the US Army in the form of an ‘unblinking stare’ over ground troops, ranging anywhere from one day to multiple weeks. According to Northrop Grumman, the endurance ability of the LEMV system comes from a design that is built around Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited's HAV304 aircraft design and Northrop Grumman's open system architecture design, which provides a modular and flexible payload capability along with room for mission expansion and growth.
As the prime contractor, Northrop Grumman is responsible for the overall system development and integration, development and implementation of the open system architecture, unmanned flight control software, mission system flight and ground operations, and maintenance and field support for worldwide operations. It leads an industry team including Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited, Warwick Mills, ILC Dover, AAI Corporation, and SAIC.
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