UV - Unmanned Vehicles

Northrop Grumman details Tern progress

2nd December 2016 - 11:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


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Northrop Grumman has cleared two milestones for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) programme, the company announced on 28 November.

The company is working on phase 3 of the programme that aims to develop a highly autonomous medium altitude, long endurance UAS capable of operating from small deck US Navy and Marine Corps vessels to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), targeting and strike missions.

The team completed a critical design review (CDR) of the air vehicle’s General Electric engine in October. The review approved an engine configuration that will allow Tern, with a unique tail-sitter design, to fly both vertically and horizontally. 

A successful CDR of Tern’s vehicle management system has also now been completed. The review produced an approval of the hardware and software architecture that will allow the air vehicle to launch and recover vertically from small-deck ships and transition to horizontal flight.

Bob August, program manager, Tern, Northrop Grumman, said: ‘Tern’s unique combination of speed, long endurance, range, and altitude would give the navy and marine corps a cost-effective, transformational capability to conduct ISR, light strike, and other missions from the sea at ranges exceeding 600 nautical miles.

‘These successful milestones add confidence to our plan to demonstrate this new vehicle capability in 2018.’

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