Northrop Grumman’s Firebird is a new approach to a market segment that has been dominated, up to now, by the General Atomics Predator/Reaper family and the Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) Heron/Eitan. The biggest advantage of the new design could be easier integration of payloads. Firebird has a payload architecture designed for “plug and play,” with a payload bay located on the center of gravity, making it less sensitive to payload mass. It sounds as if Northrop Grumman may be ...

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