Northrop Grumman to build second TERN prototype UAV

Unmanned aircraft designers at Northrop Grumman Corp. are developing a second prototype unmanned air vehicle (UAV) and shipboard launch and recovery system to enable the UAV to fly from relatively small surface ships like destroyers, frigates, and freighters.

Unmanned aircraft designers at Northrop Grumman Corp. are developing a second prototype unmanned air vehicle (UAV) and shipboard launch and recovery system to enable the UAV to fly from relatively small surface ships like destroyers, frigates, and freighters. U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) officials in Arlington, Va., announced $17.8 million contract modification to the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems segment in Redondo Beach, Calif., for phase-3 work on the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) program, which seeks to overcome limitations of Navy shipboard aircraft surveillance. Helicopters are relatively limited in maximum distances and flight times, for example, while fixed-wing manned and unmanned aircraft must operate from aircraft carriers or large land bases with long runways, although they can fly farther and longer than helicopters. The ultimate goal for a TERN UAV and launch system is to enable persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike capabilities with payloads as large as 600 pounds while operating at ranges as long as 900 nautical miles from a host vessel.

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