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Northrop Grumman acquista KillerBee UAV

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Northrop Grumman acquires KillerBee UAV line




By Graham Warwick aviationweek.com


Two years after they failed to reach a business agreement and parted company, Northrop Grumman has acquired the KillerBee line of unmanned aircraft from Swift Engineering.


Renamed the Bat, the blended wing-body UAV will be offered in sizes ranging from 6.5 feet to 33.2 feet in wingspan.


Swift has already teamed with Raytheon to offer the KillerBee for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS)/Tier II program. Northrop Grumman says it has licensed Raytheon to offer the Bat for STUAS and other programs.


Northrop Grumman originally teamed with Swift to pursue small unmanned aircraft requirements, demonstrating the 10 foot-span KillerBee 4 in March 2006. But they could not reach a business agreement and ended their partnership early in 2007.


At that time, Northrop Grumman planned to team with Aurora Flight Sciences to offer its GoldenEye 80 ducted-fan UAV for STUAS/Tier II, but Aurora has decided not to bid as the final requirement does not call for vertical takeoff and landing.


Northrop Grumman will not confirm yet whether it still plans to bid for STUAS/Tier II, which requires flight demonstrations at the U.S. military’s Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., later this year to ensure the offered systems are at a technology readiness level of 6 or higher.


The U.S. prime contractor says it has engaged Swift to continue work on design refinement, product line development, flight test support and manufacturing for the Bat family. Based in San Clemente, Calif., Swift also designs and manufactures racing cars.

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