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Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract by the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to develop an advanced technology weapon concept, designed to significantly increase engagement range and weapon effectiveness against adversary air threats, the company announced on 10 February.

"Our collaboration with DARPA is the critical first step in the development of innovative operational concepts and solutions that will enhance our warfighter’s combat capability against a rapidly growing threat,” explained Jaime Engdahl, Program Director, Kinetic Weapons and Emerging Capabilities. “The LongShot programme enables us to combine our digital engineering skillset with our extensive knowledge in advanced technology weapons, autonomous systems and strike platforms to increase weapon range and effectiveness.”

Spurred by rapid technological advances and an ever-more dangerous and disruptive battlefield, the LongShot programme will explore new lethal engagement concepts by leveraging multi-modal propulsion and weapon systems that can be operationally deployed from existing fighters or bombers. DARPA’s advanced aerospace systems activities are focused on using high pay-off opportunities to provide revolutionary new system capabilities, as opposed to incremental or evolutionary advancements, in order to achieve undeterrable air presence at dramatically reduced costs.

The LongShot programme enables Northrop Grumman to combine its expertise in weapon system design, survivability, autonomy, advanced mission systems and rapid prototyping to deliver advanced solutions that help to maintain a competitive military advantage in highly contested environments.

The LongShot concept envisions both manned and unmanned aircraft as launch platforms. (Image: Northrop Grumman)

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