Northrop Grumman and RMIT to study safe use of unmanned aircraft systems in Australia


Northrop Grumman — a leading global security company that provides innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernisation — has been studying the airworthiness requirements for operating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in Australia with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University.

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According to the news release by Northrop Grumman, the research revolves around development of solutions for safe and efficient operation of UAS in all airspace environments.

The company and RMIT have been especially focused on larger systems, the size of small commercial jets.

With over 70 years of experience in production of unmanned vehicles, Northrop Grumman has delivered more than 100,000 UAS to military customers all over the world.

The first UAS that achieved US military airworthiness certification, a certificate of authorisation from the US Federal Aviation Administration and that crossed the Pacific Ocean (2001) was a Global Hawk UAS.

“As a producer of large-scale unmanned aircraft systems, our goal is not only to provide the aircraft, but also to understand fully the Australian government’s needs to certify them for operation. We’re extremely excited to work with RMIT University because of their leadership in the development of innovative approaches to civil and military airspace regulatory reform and air vehicle certification,” said Ian Irving, Chief Executive for Northrop Grumman Australia.

“Northrop Grumman is a leading provider of high-altitude unmanned aircraft systems that will provide a transformative capability to the Australian Defence Force [ADF]. In collaboration with Northrop Grumman and the ADF, we will help establish a plan for bringing this unique capability into service,” said Reece Clothier, from RMIT’s Sir Lawrence Wackett Aerospace Research Centre, which is the largest research centre dedicated to aerospace in Australia.

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