Viper Strike Tested Against Moving Targets

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Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Hunter-Viper Strike weapon system successfully destroyed a series of moving and stationary targets in testing at the White Sands Missile Range in January. According to U.S. Army LTC(P) Jeff Gabbert, Hunter program manager, the US Army has placed the Hunter system in the Combat Aviation Brigade to provide general support to the division. The integration of the weapon with the UAV provides a lethal and persistent combination that reduces sensor-to-shooter timeline.

Under a follow-on program Northrop Grumman will demonstrate the use of the Viper Strike munition as a stand-off precision guided weapon deployed from the AC-130 gunship. Viper Strike has been operated on Unmanne Vehicles, particularly the MQ5A Hunter. In March 2007 the company received a $7 million contract modification to fund this demonstration.

The Viper Strike weapons were released and guided to their targets by the Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle's (UAV) laser targeting system. At less than a quarter of the size of the smallest guided bomb, the 44 lbs (20 kg) Viper Strike is a 36 inc (91 cm) is an ideal weapon for payload-limited aircraft such as unmanned aerial systems. After the bomb is released, it glides to the target's vicinity, and its seeker then looks for the laser spot from Hunter's laser target designator and makes final adjustments to its flight. The highly-accurate precision munition is designed to cause minimal collateral damage, making it suitable for urban warfare environments.



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