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DSEI 2021: Leonardo and Northrop Grumman Join Forces for UAS

Pursuing Opportunities in VTOL UAS Domain

At DSEI, Leonardo and Northrop Grumman announced their intention to jointly address global opportunities in the VTOL UAS market, considering cooperation in air vehicle design, system architectures, payload optimisation and integration into next-generation battlespace architectures, focusing on customer requirements and mission-based CONOPS.

Collaboration between the two companies dates back to 1995, when they jointly developed the AN/AAQ-24(V) NEMESIS DIRCM for the US and UK. Today they are working to deliver the US Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM), which will protect hundreds of aircraft.

Northrop Grumman Australia and Leonardo Australia have teamed to compete for provision of a maritime UAS to the Royal Australian Navy under the SEA129 Phase 5 programme, using Leonardo’s AWHero and elements of Northrop Grumman’s advanced battlespace architecture system as the basis of a next generation deployable ISR and targeting capability.

We see this partnership as a great opportunity to leverage the synergies between Leonardo and Northrop Grumman in the sphere of VTOL and UAS technologies. This collaboration comes at a time when we see emerging military and civil requirements worldwide in the uncrewed domain. This partnership will enable a strong and concerted approach to existing, as well as next-generation VTOL UAS technologies, from two leading global aerospace engineering companies,” explained Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters.

Nick Chaffey, Chief Executive, UK, Europe, Middle East, Northrop Grumman, added “Northrop Grumman has decades of experience and unmatched expertise in developing and delivering uncrewed and autonomous aerial systems, including the RQ-4 GLOBAL HAWK, MQ-8C FIRE SCOUT, FIREBIRD – a UAS that has the capability to be flown manned – and the pioneering X-47B aircraft. There are many possibilities that our collaboration with Leonardo will deliver for customers worldwide, as they look to solve new challenges in a complex, unpredictable threat environment.

The companies are collaborating on a bid for the RAN’s SEA129 Phase 5 programme, based on Leonardo’s AWHero UAS and elements of Northrop Grumman’s advanced battlespace architectures. (Image: Leonardo)

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