Northrop Grumman has passed two milestones for a joint program between the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Navy‘s Office of Naval Research that requires the company to develop an unmanned aerial system for multiple medium altitude, long endurance missions.
Northrop said Monday the team oversees the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node program has completed a critical design review in mid-October of the air vehicle’s General Electric engine.
A CDR was also conducted on Tern’s vehicle management system and that led to an approval of the hardware and software architecture to help launch and recover a Northrop-developed air vehicle from small-deck ships.
Bob August, Northrop program manager of the Tern project, said the combination of speed, endurance, range and altitude capacity the system offers can help provide the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps with a platform to conduct ISR, light strike and other missions.
DARPA said in November the program aims to commence ground-based and at-sea flight tests on the Northrop-developed prototype drone in 2018 in support of the Tern program.