posted on Nov, 15 2012 @ 12:26 PM
Northrop Grumman unveiled a two seat version of the Optionally Piloted Vehicle Firebird UAV. The original Firebird was unveiled in 2011, and was a
single seat version that could be flown as a UAV or with a pilot. This version is being developed for an unidentified customer, that has requested a
second seat be added.
The new Firebird is 30% larger, with a wingspan of 72.2 feet, and is 35.5 feet long. The vehicle can be flown with a pilot through congested
airspace, and then can be flown in either a Line Of Sight configuration, or a beyond Line Of Sight configuration. The beyond LOS removes the canopy,
the pilots avionics system, and adds an L3 SATCOM antenna.
A two-seat production derivative of Northrop Grumman’s secretly developed Firebird medium-altitude optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) demonstrator
has begun test flights for an unidentified customer.
Flown by two Northrop test pilots, the OPV made its first flight from Mojave, Calif., on Nov. 12. Powered by a single Lycoming TEO-540E piston engine,
the twin-boom configured aircraft climbed to 3,880 ft. and reached a maximum speed of 100 kt. during a short, 6-min. circuit.
Some 30% larger than the Firebird demonstrator unveiled in 2011, the production-ready variant is 35.5 ft. in length and has a wingspan of 72.2 ft. The
second pilot position was added at the request of the customer, adding a new dimension to the concept of a purpose-designed UAV with the option of an