Using RPAs to Defeat Roadside Bombs

The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, awarded Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems Air Combat Systems, in San Diego, a $26.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for the Sand Dragon B program to develop and deploy an “innovative” counter-IED remotely piloted aircraft capability, according to an Aug. 12 Pentagon announcement. The Air Force has been working with California-based Chandler May, Inc., since early 2010 on the Sand Dragon aircraft—a medium-altitude, long-endurance RPA designed for route surveillance on missions that can last up to 24-hours, reported Military and Aerospace Electronics. Sand Dragon will be capable of operating without the use of runways, according to MAE. Northrop’s work will be performed at its San Diego facility, according to the DOD release.