Northrop Grumman has officially unveiled a new autonomous aircraft for the Air Force, called the Model 437. This unmanned “loyal wingman” hopes to aid them in the search for the next-generation of drones that could accompany manned planes into battle. This stealthy combat drone boasts a 3,000 mile range and is based on the Model 401, which is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-5D engine. Read more for additional pictures and a bonus video on military drones.
If equipped with the same engine as its predecessor, it should be able to achieve speeds of over Mach 0.8 (613 mph) and a top speed of Mach 0.85 (652 mph). The aircraft features 38-foot wingspan and a fuselage that also measures in at 38-feet in length. It’s capable of carrying approximately 4000 lb (1814 kg) of fuel, which is good for over 5-hours of flight time, and has a maximum take-off weight of 8,002 lb (3,630 kg). Most importantly, the Model 437 only needs a 3,000-foot stretch for takeoff, making it runway independent.
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We’re in a good position because of our capabilities that we have with our digital engineering [and] digital transformation. Adversaries are narrowing the technological advantage the U.S. and its allies have maintained. Using a family of systems approach is the most effective way to take on new threats,” said Richard Sullivan, vice president of program management at Northrop Grumman.