It is set to be the drone that can land anywhere, and turn any US Navy ship into an aircraft carrier.
Northrop Grumman has revealed its flying-wing tailsitter drone will take to the air in 2018 – and does not need a runway.
Instead, it simply lands on its tail – a design first tested in the 1950s.
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LASER WEAPONS ‘COMING SOON’
Air Force bosses have boasted combat lasers will be fitted to fighters planes ‘very soon’ and have revealed a full scale prototype is being built.
‘I believe we’ll have a directed energy pod we can put on a fighter plane very soon,’ Air Force General Hawk Carlisle has claimed at the Air Force Association Air & Space conference in a presentation on what he called Fifth-Generation Warfare, according to Ars Technica.
‘That day is a lot closer than I think a lot of people think it is.’
The design is part of Northrop’s proposal for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Tern programme.
‘Small-deck ships such as destroyers and frigates could greatly increase their effectiveness if they had their own unmanned air systems (UASs) to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and other capabilities at long range around the clock,’ Darpa and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research said when it announced the project.
Now, Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully passed two key milestones for the Tern program.