Northrop reveals details of offer for DARPA ANCILLARY VTOL UAS programme
Northrop Grumman has become the first company to outline what it plans for DARPA’s AdvaNced airCraft Infrastructure-Less Launch And RecoverY (ANCILLARY) programme, a VTOL UAS that can be deployed and retrieved without large mechanical launchers and landing/recovery equipment.
In June DARPA announced that AeroVironment, AVX Aircraft, Griffon Aerospace, Karem Aircraft, Leidos, Method Aeronautics, Northrop Grumman, Piasecki Aircraft and Sikorsky will develop systems during the six-month Phase Ia.
The UAS needs to be ship-based and the programme ultimately plans to flight demonstrate innovative aircraft configurations and critical technologies needed for a low-weight, large-payload, long-endurance X-plane.
Teams then will submit competitive proposals for more detailed X-plane design work. The demonstrator will be designed as a cost-efficient, multiple-mission-capable vehicle built on an agile platform that is runway-independent. The project is expected to culminate with X-plane flight tests in early 2026.
Northrop Grumman's ANCILLARY demonstrator will be capable of carrying a 27kg sensor payload with more than 20h time on station and a mission radius range of 100nmi without using significant additional infrastructure aside from what is on board the air vehicle. The system will also have capability to land on a ship in adverse weather conditions.
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