Northrop Grumman joins Sand Dragon unmanned aircraft program to defeat improvised explosive devices (IEDs)

Aeromech (now AME) Fury 1500

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio, 14 Aug. 2011. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designers at Northrop Grumman Corp. Aerospace Systems sector in San Diego are joining the U.S. Air Force Sand Dragon UAV program to defeat improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other roadside bombs.

Northrop Grumman won a $26.2 million contract Friday for the Air Force Sand Dragon B program to develop and deploy a UAV with counter-IED capability. Apparently Northrop Grumman is joining the Chandler May Inc. AME Unmanned Air Systems segment in San Luis Obispo, Calif., which since early 2010 has been working on the Air Force’s Sand Dragon medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for route surveillance on missions as long as 24 hours.

Awarding the contract Friday to Northrop Grumman were officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio — the same organization providing funding to Chandler May’s AME Unmanned Air Systems of $16.4 million in 2010 and $2.14 million this year for the Sand Dragon UAV program.