WASHINGTON, 17 Aug. 2011.Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designers at the Northrop Grumman Corp. Aerospace Systems sector in San Diego are using the company's Bat unmanned aircraft in the U.S. Air Force Sand Dragon B program to defeat improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other roadside bombs.The Northrop Grumman Bat UAV is a rail-launched, net-recovered, runway-independent UAV shaped like a bat in flight. The UAV has a 12-foot wingspan, has a 212-pound gross weight, and will be equipped with the Cobalt 190 electro-optical sensor from the FLIR Systems Inc. Government Systems segment in Arlington, Va., says Mark Gamache, the Sand Dragon B program manager at Northrop Grumman Aerospace. Gamache disclosed the company' BAT entry in the Sand Dragon B program this week at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Unmanned Systems North America trade show in Washington.Northrop Grumman won a $26.2 million contract last week to develop and deploy the Sand Dragon B UAV with counter-IED capability. Awarding the contract on 12 Aug. were officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Northrop Grumman joins the Chandler May Inc. AME Unmanned Air Systems segment in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on the San Dragon IED-hunting UAV program. Chandler May AME has been working on the Air Force's Sand Dragon medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV program since early 2010 to conduct route surveillance on missions lasting as long as 24 hours.
Chandler May AME won Air Force Research Lab contracts worth $16.4 million in 2010 and $2.14 million this year for the Sand Dragon UAV program. Chandler May AME is providing the company's Fury B catapult-launched UAV for Sand Dragon. Fury B is a rail-launched UAV recoverable in a net that can fly missions as long as 24 hours. The Chandler May AME Fury B UAV for Sand Dragon is being fitted with a dual-band radar and electro-optical sensor to help detect and locate IED threats.
The Northrop Grumman Bat UAV entry in the Air force Sand Dragon B program is a medium-altitude UAV that can be configured with different-sized fuel tanks and different sensor payloads. The Bat has a blended body design able to carry a 3.2-cubic-foot payload.
The Bat Northrop Grumman Bat UAV has two engine variants -- a Hirth electronic fuel-injection engine, as well as a heavy fuel-variant, which runs on a version of JP-8 fuel, the most widely used fuel used by the U.S. military, Northrop Grumman officials say.
For more information contact Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems online at www.as.northropgrumman.com.
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