Northrop Puts ‘Firebird’ Aircraft Through Data Collection Missions

Firebird aircraft
Firebird aircraft

Northrop Grumman has conducted a series of flight tests that showcased the ability of its Firebird intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to collect data over a four-day demonstration period.

The Firebird system gathered data during four crewed flights that lasted for more than 10 hours as part of missions such as high-value subject tracking, fire hotspot detection and route clearance, Northrop said Tuesday.

For a single-day exercise, Northrop equipped the aircraft with an Overwatch Imaging-built TK-9 Earthwatch sensor that features an artificial intelligence-based image processing engine technology.

“We leveraged Firebird's communications suite and data processing power to patch in customers to our virtual feed so they were able to view flight activities in real-time,” said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager of autonomous systems at Northrop.

The aircraft is designed to operate for more than 30 hours at an altitude of up to 25K feet.

You may also be interested in...

U.S. Air Force

Air Force Releases RFI for Advanced Reentry Vehicle Technology

The U.S. Air Force's nuclear weapons center has launched a market research for advanced planning efforts related to intercontinental ballistic missile and sought input from potential sources of technologies for futute reentry vehicles, including radiation hardened electronics. 


Hermeus Expands Footprint in Atlanta With New Aircraft Assembly Factory

American startup Hermeus will turn a 110,000 square-foot facility in Atlanta into an aircraft assembly factory that will accomodate structures testing and light manufacturing operations and will double as the company's headquarters for its hundreds of employees.

Virgin Orbit

Virgin Orbit’s New LauncherOne Mission to Send DOD, International Satellites to Space in June

Virgin Orbit announced on Thursday that its LauncherOne rocket is fully assembled and will soon be shipped to Mojave Air and Space Port in California for pre-launch operations. The rocket’s upcoming mission is called Tubular Bells, Part One, which will launch CubeSat satellites for the Department of Defense (DOD) and Royal Netherlands Air Force, as well as two optical satellites for SatRevolution. The launch is scheduled for June of this year.