Northrop Grumman Firebird Completes Capability Demonstration Flights
Northrop Grumman Firebird Completes Capability Demonstration Flights

Northrop Grumman Firebird Completes Capability Demonstration Flights

Northrop Grumman Corporation recently completed a series of mission focused engagements, including integration and testing of Overwatch Imaging’s TK-9 Earthwatch sensor. Over a four day period, Firebird demonstrated several data collection missions, including wide-area surveillance, pattern of life monitoring, route clearance, search and rescue, high-value subject tracking, hostage recovery, and fire hotspot detection. The Firebird team carried out four 10+ hour manned flights with 100 percent aircraft availability for day and night operations. The sensor was integrated in one day as part of ongoing capability flights validating the wide range of missions the Firebird system can perform for government and commercial customers.

Northrop Grumman’s Firebird product line delivers medium altitude, long endurance multi-mission flexibility and affordability. Overwatch Imaging provides automated airborne imaging systems for piloted and unmanned aircraft. Their TK-9 Earthwatch sensor has a flexible onboard AI-enabled automatic image processing engine that allows the system to adapt to new roles in new environments very quickly. Available in autonomous and optionally-piloted configurations, Firebird is designed to deliver critical ISR capability to meet customer needs. The system delivers 30-plus hours of endurance and flies up to 25,000 feet, providing customers near real-time actionable intelligence.

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Northrop Grumman Firebird is designed to provide ISR payload and cockpit flexibility through truly open architecture and plug-and-play payload integration.
Northrop Grumman Firebird is designed to provide ISR payload and cockpit flexibility through truly open architecture and plug-and-play payload integration.

Firebird is equipped with wide band Line-of-Sight (LoS) and/or Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLoS) data links, onboard storage and accessible processing for rapid data exploitation to ensure timely completion of missions for industry and government customers. The system’s unique design allows sensors to be changed rapidly as plug-and-play devices, reducing first time payload integration time from months to days and enabling rapid field changes in less than an hour to increase operational availability and tailored mission suitability. Firebird delivers 30-plus hours of endurance and up to 25,000 feet, providing customers near real-time actionable intelligence.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is an American global aerospace and defense technology company. With 90,000 employees and an annual revenue in excess of $30 billion, it is one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers and military technology providers. The firm ranks No. 108 on the 2020 Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations. Northrop Grumman is made up of four main business sectors: Aeronautics Systems, Defense Systems, Mission Systems and Space Systems. Prior to Northrop Grumman’s reorganization of its divisions on January 1, 2020, the divisions were: Aerospace Systems, Mission Systems, Technology Services, and Innovation Systems.

Northrop Grumman Firebird aircraft taxis ahead of night demonstration flight.
Northrop Grumman Firebird aircraft taxis ahead of night demonstration flight.

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