Military Robotics

Northrop Firebird OPV

Posted 9 May 2011 at 14:58 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast Share This


Northrop Grumman officially presented today a new optionally piloted aircraft that aspires to challenge General Atomics that dominate the US large UAV market with their Predator A&B systems. The new OPV is called Firebird and while being similar in size to a Predator A it is faster and has up to 40hr of loiter time. It was developed by Scaled Composites in only 12 months and has already flown several times with various test payloads. Being optionally manned, the Firebird could transit to the area of interest with a pilot on board thus avoiding the complex or even unsurpassable implications of flying a large UAV on civil airspace. There it could perform its mission like any other UAV. Another important aspect of Firebird is its versatile architecture as a system, it can carry different payloads and provide support to separate ground teams. Additionally it will be very easy to reconfigure its payload and mission in a few hours or less. Northrop will officially unveil it at the Empire Challenge event this month and there it will perform a demonstration of its capabilities.
(photo Tanner Yaberg via Northrop Grumman)

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