Naval Air: March 1, 2000


Northrop Grumman has won a $97 million contract to develop a new robot helicopter for the Navy. The modified Schweizer 330P helicopter must be able to fly 110 nautical miles and loiter for three hours carrying 200 pounds of sonobuoys or weapons. The Navy wants to buy 12 "systems" (each with four aircraft) while the Marines want 11 "systems" (again, each with four aircraft). Until the new aircraft is available, the Navy will have only limited UAV support since it has decided to stop using the Pioneer drones. The contract award may finally kill the Bell Eagle Eye tilt rotor drone, which was the most capable but the most expensive of those tested by the Navy.--Stephen V Cole


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