The American company Northrop Grumman has tested a promising optionally-manned spy plane Firebird quick change on-Board equipment. According to the message of the company, during the tests, the aircraft made four flights lasting more than 10 hours each, following a few reconnaissance missions.
Northrop Grumman is developing a spy plane Firebird in 2010. This apparatus creates a modular architecture that allows you to quickly change the payload and avionics. For example, the apparatus can be converted from manned to unmanned in just four hours. In Firebird the unmanned vehicle can stay aloft more than 30 hours.
With a length of 10 meters, a wingspan of 20 meters and height of 2.9 metres reconnaissance aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 23 tons. It can carry a payload weighing up to 560 pounds. The aircraft is able to fly to an altitude of 9.1 thousand meters and speeds of up to 370 kilometers per hour. The device is equipped with a compartment for the equipment and the external points of suspension for the container of the intelligence systems.
Testing the intelligence apparatus was conducted at the site in San Diego, California. The unit performed a series of tasks, including intelligence gathering, people search, detection emplacements and mapping. In addition to the unit was equipped with automatic opto-electronic and thermal imaging surveillance system TK-9 an Earthwatch.
In may of this year, the Research laboratory of the US air force converted to a military reconnaissance drone Surveyor light sport aircraft Sinus, produced by Slovenian company Pipistrel. The device has a thermal imaging and electro-optical camera that can shoot high-definition video. In addition, the drone is able to stay aloft for up to 30 hours, were equipped with electronic intelligence system.