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Northrop Grumman partners with Andøya Space to offer maritime ISR capabilities to Norway

An MQ-4C maritime unmanned aerial vehicle in flight. Northrop Grumman hopes to sell the system to Norway. (Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Andøya Space in Norway covering co-operation in support of the Norwegian government's Long Term Defence Plan (LTDP). This collaboration includes developing advanced autonomous maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to meet Norwegian priorities, Northrop Grumman said in a 28 May statement. The partnership is intended to “catalyse innovation, stimulate economic growth, and establish Andøya as a global leader in autonomous technology”, the statement said.

The MOU is a formal step for the companies to begin developing solutions for Norway's LTDP, Rho Cauley-Bruner, director of the Triton programme, Northrop Grumman, told Janes on 5 June. The MQ-4C Triton can provide superior and discriminating capabilities to meet Norwegian requirements, particularly in the High North, she said.

The partnership brings together Northrop Grumman's expertise in designing and building autonomous airborne surveillance aircraft with Andøya Space's experience in fielding capabilities to meet Norwegian security requirements, Cauley-Bruner said. Together, they will identify technological solutions to Norwegian needs and challenges in the High North in the areas of maritime surveillance, safety, security, and other priorities in the LTDP, she said.

The Norwegian government unveiled the LTDP in May, which identified a need to improve maritime surveillance. The document proposes long-range drones with sensors and systems for the continuous monitoring of maritime areas in the north and satellites for surveillance and communication. Andøya in northern Norway offers an air station and new spaceport, Cauley-Bruner said. The government has also announced plans to develop Andøya into a base for long-range drones in addition to supporting Norwegian space operations and the reception of allied forces.

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