Military Aviation

U.S. NAVY MIGHT EQUIP EA-18G BLOCK II WITH UAV

Dubbed Dash X, the UAV will fold inside a canister and is designed to be carried on the EA-18G Growler

During a media tour of Northrop Grumman’s mission systems facility outside Baltimore, Maryland, reporters were shown an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that folds inside a canister and designed to be carried on the EA-18G Growler.

Partnering with VX Aerospace, the company plans to incorporate this technology on the EA-18G Block II. Dubbed Dash X, the UAV will gather radio frequencies once it separates from its canister.

According to Flight Global, Northrop Grumman modified a Bombardier Dash 8 with a sensor suite, which directed the UAV to change missions and locations in real time during the experiment. Northrop’s first experiment marked a shore-based test and will tackle aircraft separation in the next funding phase.

“We did a demonstration where these flew forward, looked for an unlocated RF [radio frequency] object, they went out and they found that vehicle, they listened for the whispering and they pulled it back to this test airframe and they were able to detect, identify and geolocate,” says JJ Thompson, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems Airborne C4ISR Division.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. EA-18G Growler VAQ-130 Zappers, AC500 / 168268 / 2016.

Northrop Grumman is working Dash X through ONR, as well as the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Naval Air Systems’ PMA-265, which handles the service’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and EA-18G fleets. The U.S. Navy appears to be interested in Dash X as part of a manned-unmanned teaming effort with its Block II Growlers, Thompson says.

The company believes its slow speed of 60 kts and tiny size will allow it to evade detection by enemy air defense systems.

“How does a company go from making B-21s to this?” Thompson says. “It is actually survivable because it is absolutely so slow and so small, when you think about how military systems are designed, they’re designed to shoot down tactical jets and you’re actually build into radars gates that take away things just as birds.”

Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paolo Bayas and Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jake Greenberg / U.S. Navy

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Recent Posts

US Naval Aviator explains why maintainers rather than pilots are the long pole in the tent to stand up Ukrainian Air Force F-16 squadrons

First batch of F-16s will be delivered to Ukraine this summer As already reported, Belgian… Read More

12 hours ago

US Navy EA-18G pilot explains why Ukraine should use F-16s just for SEAD missions and not for air-to-air missions

Brussels to provide Kyiv with 30 F-16s Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib told the Belgian… Read More

1 day ago

The Convair Water-Based B-58: the story of the Hustler seaplane strategic bomber that never was

The Hustler The US Air Force’s first operational supersonic bomber, the B-58 made its initial flight on… Read More

1 day ago

Happy Birthday to a Flying Legend: Remembering the first Phlight of the Phabulous Phantom

The first Phlight of the Phabulous Phantom The F-4 Phantom was the first multiservice aircraft,… Read More

3 days ago

Red Tails participate in their first exercise with the F-35 Lightning II fifth gen fighters

Red Tails participate in their first exercise with the F-35 From May 4 to May… Read More

3 days ago