Leonardo, Northrop Grumman to Join Hands on VTOL Drones

  • Our Bureau
  • 12:27 PM, September 16, 2021
  • 4492
Leonardo, Northrop Grumman to Join Hands on VTOL Drones
Leonardo AWHERO VTOL Drone

Leonardo and Northrop Grumman today announced a partnership to pursue opportunities in the Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS) domain.

Drawing on Leonardo’s expertise in rotorcraft and Northrop Grumman’s capabilities in advanced aeronautics and next generation autonomous uncrewed aerial systems, the companies will focus on jointly addressing global opportunities in the VTOL UAS market.

The companies will consider collaboration on air vehicle design, system architectures, payload optimisation and integration within next generation battlespace architectures, with a focus on customer requirements and mission-based Concepts of Operations.

The agreement is the latest development in a successful long-term partnership between Northrop Grumman and Leonardo.

The companies work closely together on airborne platform protection. This collaboration goes back to 1995 when the team jointly developed the AN/AAQ-24(V) Nemesis DIRCM for the US Department of Defense and UK Ministry of Defence. Today the companies are working to deliver the United States Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) programme, which will protect hundreds of aircraft.

Northrop Grumman Australia and Leonardo Australia have teamed to compete to provide a Maritime Uncrewed Aerial System (MUAS) to the Royal Australian Navy under the SEA129 Phase 5 programme, using the Leonardo AWHero and elements of Northrop Grumman’s advanced battlespace architecture system as the basis of a next generation deployable intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting (ISR&T) capability.

Leonardo, Northrop Grumman to Join Hands on VTOL Drones
Leonardo's Falco EVO unmanned air system

Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters, said: “This collaboration comes at a time when we see emerging military and civil requirements worldwide in the uncrewed domain.”

Nick Chaffey, Chief Executive, UK, Europe, Middle East, Northrop Grumman said: “Northrop Grumman has 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.

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