Northrop Grumman Firebird completes successful multi-day capability demonstration flights

The multi-mission demonstration, including single-day integration of new sensors, showcased the power of Firebird’s open architecture.

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Northrop Grummans Firebird completes successful multi day capability demonstration flights

Firebird taxies ahead of night demonstration flight (Picture source: Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman recently completed a series of mission-focused engagements, including integration and testing of Overwatch Imaging’s TK-9 Earthwatch sensor. The sensor was integrated in one day as part of ongoing capability flights validating the wide range of missions the Firebird system can perform for government and commercial customers.

“During this exercise, we rapidly integrated sensors and utilized Firebird’s operational flexibility to demonstrate the system’s unique capability,” said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman. “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.”

Over a four day period, Firebird demonstrated several data collection missions, including wide-area surveillance, the pattern of life monitoring, route clearance, search and rescue, high-value subject tracking, hostage recovery, and fire hotspot detection. The Firebird team carried out four 10+ hour manned flights with 100 percent aircraft availability for day and night operations.

Northrop Grumman’s Firebird product line delivers medium-altitude, long-endurance multi-mission flexibility and affordability. Available in autonomous and optionally-piloted configurations, Firebird is designed to deliver critical ISR capability to meet customer needs. The system delivers 30-plus hours of endurance and flies up to 25,000 feet, providing customers near real-time actionable intelligence.

Overwatch Imaging provides automated airborne imaging systems for piloted and unmanned aircraft. Their TK-9 Earthwatch sensor has a flexible onboard AI-enabled automatic image processing engine that allows the system to adapt to new roles in new environments very quickly, from natural disaster emergency management to border security patrol and large-scale infrastructure inspection.