Northrop Grumman Corp. is collaborating with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University to study airworthiness requirements for operating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in Australia.
The collaboration involves developing solutions for safely and efficiently operating UAS in all airspace environments with a particular focus on larger systems the size of small commercial jets.
“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,” said Ian Irving, chief executive for Northrop Grumman Australia. “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.”
Northrop Grumman has 70 years’ experience producing unmanned vehicles and has delivered more than 100,000 unmanned aircraft systems to military customers in the U.S. and around the world.
Reece Clothier, from RMIT’s Sir Lawrence Wackett Aerospace Research Centre, said, “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.”
In 2001, a Global Hawk UAS became the first unmanned, powered aircraft to cross the Pacific Ocean in a flight of more than 23-hour duration from Southern California to Adelaide, Australia.
Global Hawk is also the first UAS to achieve U.S. military airworthiness certification, along with a certificate of authorization from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, recognizing the system for its ability to routinely fly within national airspace.