Northrop Grumman’s new football-field-sized persistent Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance UAV, an “unblinking eye” over a tactical theater, will take to skies over Afghanistan in just eighteen months, according to company officials.
The U.S. Army has ordered three of the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicles (LEMVs), which will be capable of sustaining altitudes of 20,000 feet for three weeks at a time, for $517 million. It will be forward-deployed to support long-term geostationary operations and help provide Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance support to commanders in the field as well as improved situational awareness for warfighters on the ground.
“Our offering supports the Army’s Joint Military Utility Assessment that this disruptive innovation must meet the Army’s objective of a persistent unblinking stare while providing increased operational utility to battlefield commanders. Part of our innovative offering includes open architecture design in the payload bay to allow sensor changes by service personnel in the field,” added Northrop Grumman LEMV Program Manager Alan Metzger.
Northrop Grumman is working with UK-based Hybrid Air Vehicles, Ltd., using its HAV304 blimp platform as a starting point, as well as Warwick Mills, ILC Dover, AAI Corporation, SAIC, and a team of technology leaders from 18 states to meet its ambitious deployment deadline. Here’s hoping this revolutionary new technology provides our commanders with the support they need to win the war in Afghanistan.