Leonardo and Northrop Grumman plan to jointly 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 two companies will focus on jointly addressing global opportunities in the VTOL UAS market.
The companies plan to collaborate 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.
“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,” said Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters. “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.”
The two 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 o deliver the United States Army’s Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) programme, which will protect hundreds of aircraft.
Northrop Grumman Australia and Leonardo Australia have also 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.
“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,” said Nick Chaffey, Chief Executive, UK, Europe, Middle East, Northrop Grumman. “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.”
Leonardo has developed remotely piloted systems and technologies across all domains, with significant investment in platforms, sensors, communications, control systems, in addition to counter-drone capabilities and technologies for uncrewed systems’ traffic management and air traffic control.
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