NORTHROP GRUMMAN'S FIREBIRD DEMONSTRATES MULTI-MISSION CAPABILITIES DURING RECENT EXERCISE Northrop Grumman has announced that it recently completed a series of mission focused engagements, including integration and testing of Overwatch Imaging’s TK-9 Earthwatch sensor on its Firebird system.
A provider of automated airborne imaging systems for piloted and unmanned aircraft, Overwatch Imaging's TK-9 Earthwatch sensor is equipped with a flexible onboard AI-enabled automatic image processing engine that allows the system to quickly adapt to new roles in new environments such as natural disaster emergency management, border security patrol, or large-scale infrastructure inspection.
As part of ongoing capability flights, the sensor was integrated onto the Firebird system in just one day. The ongoing capability flights are designed to validate the numerous missions the Firebird system is capable of performing 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,” says 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.” During a four-day period, Firebird performed a number of data collection missions, including wide-area surveillance, search and rescue and hostage recovery, to name a few. The Firebird team conducted four 10-plus hour manned flights with 100 percent aircraft availability for day and night operations.
According to Northrop Grumman, its Firebird product line delivers medium altitude, long endurance multi-mission flexibility and affordability. Designed to deliver critical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability to meet customer needs, Firebird is available in autonomous and optionally-piloted configurations. Capable of delivering 30-plus hours of endurance, the system flies up to 25,000 feet, allowing it to provide customers with near real-time actionable intelligence.