Northrop Grumman Corporation is collaborating with NASA to develop and test solutions for integrating large, uncrewed aircraft systems into the National Airspace System (NAS). The effort will focus on air cargo operations and is part of NASA’s Air Traffic Management-eXploration (ATM-X) Pathfinding for Airspace with Autonomous Vehicles (PAAV) subproject.
“Partnering with NASA, we will detail requirements and solutions to make it possible for autonomous aircraft, in this case being air cargo, to be integrated seamlessly and safely into national airspace,” said Tom Jones, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems. “Our work together will improve airspace access and transform how uncrewed systems are used to transport goods across U.S. airspace and help establish airspace integration critical to future manned unmanned teaming efforts.”
Under this partnership, Northrop Grumman and NASA will develop and test solutions for integrating large Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the national airspace system, with an emphasis on air cargo operations. To support this long-term goal, they will exchange data and information to define technologies and procedures for remotely piloted systems. This work will include coordination with the FAA, flight readiness reviews and development of a test plan for simulations and flight demonstrations.
Northrop Grumman is a long-standing leader in the development and operations of advanced autonomous systems and future autonomous air capabilities. From rudimentary radio-controlled aircraft to today’s software intensive systems, the company’s aircraft, such as the Global Hawk, are already operating in collaborative environments with crewed aircraft. With technical expertise in military aviation and autonomy, Northrop Grumman developed the first distributed autonomous framework that allows military commanders to control numerous uncrewed aircraft simultaneously.