14:42 GMT25 October 2020
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    The Pentagon’s high-tech research agency DARPA and Office of Naval Research has awarded major defense contractor Northrop Grumman a contract to produce a demonstration program of unmanned systems for maritime persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and strike, the company announced in a statement.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched the Tern program in a bid to integrate the military’s land and sea capabilities to support air assets and use smaller ships to use as launch and recovery sites for medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft (UAVs), according to the Defense Department’s high-tech research agency.

    "We intend to highly leverage our Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence to develop and demonstrate this type of demanding unmanned systems capability to advance the Navy's mission," Northrop Grumman Vice President of Research, Technology and Advanced Design Chris Hernandez said on Tuesday.

    As part of the contract, Northrop Grumman will receive the third phase of the Tern unmanned systems program which will include the "final design, fabrication and a full-scale, at-sea demonstration of the system," the defense contractor said.

    Moreover, Northrop Grumman said that Tern sought to develop "autonomous, unmanned, long-range, global, persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and strike system" that would be able to operate in "harsh maritime environments" and be deployed and recovered from small-deck naval vessels without making significant modifications to the ships.

    US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Northrop Grumman
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