Skip to comments.Northrop, DARPA to demo autonomous UAV refueling
Posted on 07/01/2010 4:57:32 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
Northrop Grumman dropped out of the US Air Force tanker race nearly four months ago, but a new contract award revealed 1 July shows they remain in the aerial refueling market.
In fact, Northrop plans to go one better than manned aerial refueling - the aerospace giant is now working with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on autonomous high-altitude refueling.
Under a $33 million deal dubbed KQ-X, Northrop will demonstrate refueling with a pair of Block 10 RQ-4 Global Hawks the company is currently sharing with NASA The ability to refuel mid-air without the aid of a pilot on the ground would extend the Global Hawk's time on station from 30hr to 35hr hours to a matter of days, Gamache said.
"By getting rid of the pilot, we're exceeded the limits set by human biology. Now we are set to remove the limits of fuel. From there, the Global Hawk's limitations will become a matter of system reliability and payloads," he said.
The program will bring together Northrop, DARPA, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to retrofit two Global Hawks for an entirely autonomous hose-and-drogue refueling system.
The receiving aircraft will be fitted with a 4.3m (14ft) probe and the "tanker" drone will get a hose and drogue system installed in its nose, where the synthetic-aperture radar usually resides.
(Excerpt) Read more at flightglobal.com ...
Getting a deja vu here....anyone remember the movie “Stealth”....?
anything bigger than Raven should somehow be a2a refuel capable.
Great would be a2a REARM..!!!
I think that’s at least 10 years off.
Awful movie but damn if it wasn’t prophetic.