Northrop to develop maritime unmanned aircraft system

Northrop Grumman Corp. will develop and demonstrate a new maritime surveillance unmanned aircraft system for the Navy under a seven-year, five-month contract worth $1.16 billion.

The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System will provide the Navy with a persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system to protect the fleet. It will also provide a capability to detect, track, classify and identify maritime targets.

Northrop Grumman's RQ-4N, an RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle adapted for maritime use, will be the platform for the BAMS UAS suite of maritime surveillance sensors and communications systems.

The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System will support a variety of missions while operating independently or in direct collaboration with fleet assets. The vehicle will be able to provide a continuous on-station presence while conducting open-ocean and shoreline surveillance of targets.

When operational, the system will play a key role in providing commanders with a persistent, reliable picture of surface threats, covering vast areas of open ocean and littoral regions, minimizing the need to utilize other manned assets to execute surveillance and reconnaissance tasks.

Other RQ-4N BAMS team members are Raytheon Co., L-3 Communications Corp., Aurora Flight Sciences, Rolls-Royce Corp., Sierra Nevada Corp. and Vought Aircraft Industries.

Northrop Grumman ranks No. 3 on Washington Technology's 2007 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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