Northrop Grumman exposes two new UAVs

The inadvertent revealing of two new aircraft design concepts offers proof Northrop Grumman is plotting an aggressive new push deeper into the UAV market.

These images of MQ-X and MUVR appeared on a 10-month-old presentation by a Northrop executive to aerospace suppliers in California. The briefing is posted online (see slide 4).

The designs show that Northrop is reaching into its past even as it looks to the future of UAV technology. The MQ-X aircraft’s nose and fuselage bears an at least passing resemblance to the Global Hawk family, although the wings and tail are designed for a medium-altitude, multi-purpose mission.

MUVR, meanwhile, borrows the fan-in-wing concept for vertical takeoff thrust that was pioneered by the short-lived Ryan XV-5 Vertiplane (see video below). Northrop actually first revealed a blurry image of MUVR at the 2009 Paris Air Show, but this is the first clear image of the aircraft design.


Both concepts are proof that Northrop’s 18-month-old advanced technologies shop — led by former KC-X executive Paul Meyer (also, a former Skunk Works employee — has been busy.


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2 Responses to Northrop Grumman exposes two new UAVs

  1. ArkadyRenko 19 August, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    The VTOL UAV is probably aimed at a navy contract, but I think that the army will look into it as well.

    Nothing says “support forward deployed forces” like a rough field vertical take off and landing airplane, armed with anti tank missiles and AAMs.

  2. Dave 19 August, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    Was it inadvertent, or was there some insidious design to get these planes into the lime light? In all seriousness, there is the question as to whether these gifs are representative of real concepts or mere drawn up by PR staff to fill the Powerpoint… I was personally hoping for a more ambitious MQ-X concept from them.

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