Northrop Grumman has dropped an inert bomb from the Scaled Composites-designed Proteus as part of the private-venture development of a multi-mission medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned air vehicle. The company is continuing work on the UAV, designated the Model 395, despite unconfirmed reports it has been unsuccessful in its bid to meet the US Air Force's hunter-killer armed UAV requirement. The twinjet, tandem-wing Proteus design was selected after studying the likely requirements for a MALE UAV that could operate at 20,000-50,000ft (4,570-15,250m) for 15h-plus and be fielded within two to three years, says Brian Wages, business development, Northrop Grumman Unmanned Systems. The company already owned the sole Proteus, which it uses as a manned UAV surrogate, and is a significant stakeholder in Scaled. "The Proteus fits the bill almost exactly," says Wages. The Model 395 was offered in response to a US Air Force request for information on hunter-killer MALE UAVs, a requirement now expected to be met by the General Atomics MQ-9 Predator B. Northrop also proposed a scaled-down RQ-4 Global Hawk, designated the Model 396, "but we did not really get behind that", says Wages. Northrop is continuing company-funded development of the Model 395.


Source: Flight International