Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $517-million contract to develop up to three Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) systems to provide US troops in Afghanistan an unblinking ‘eye-in-the-sky’.
The new hybrid airship weapons system, which will take to the skies in just 18 months, will be designed with plug-and-play capability to readily integrate into the Army’s existing common ground station command centres – the main objective being to provide US war fighters with persistent Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) capability to increase awareness of the ever-changing battlefield. Military assessment would be carried out in the Middle East. The LEMV, operating at altitudes of 20,000 feet for a three-week period, it will work within national and international airspace.
It will be forward-located to support extended operations from austere operating locations using beyond-line-of-sight command and control. Northrop Grumman has teamed with Hybrid Air Vehicles, Ltd. of the United Kingdom using its HAV304 platform, Warwick Mills, ILC Dover, AAI Corporation, SAIC, and a team of technology leaders from 18 US states to build LEMV. Northrop Grumman will provide systems integration expertise and flight and ground control operations to safely take off and land the unmanned vehicle for worldwide operations.