UAS Studies Take Flight
The U.S. Army is planning to test a new long-endurance multi-intelligence unmanned vehicle in Afghanistan this summer. Developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation, the aircraft resembles a small blimp. It is designed to carry multiple intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) payloads for more than 21 days at altitudes of more than 22,000 feet. Other vertical take-off and landing vehicles the Army is exploring include the Boeing A160 Hummingbird. The study of innovative unmanned aerial systems (UASs) is being financed by overseas contingency operations funds. The service is looking for economical ways to replace its aging ISR platforms such as its Kiowa fleet, which includes some assets that are approximately 35 years old.