Northrop Grumman Unveils Model 401
- Northrop Grumman unveiled the Model 401 aircraft, built by the Burt Rutan-founded, Northrop Grumman-owned Scaled Composites for an unnamed “very generous” customer in the words of Scaled Composites President Cory Bird.
- The sleek, Model 401 design, which relies on a simplified mechanical flight control system, is to serve as the progenitor of an unmanned Model 437 aircraft to meet U.S. Air Force and other customer requirements for ISR and strike aircraft that can survive in highly contested environments.
- A source who worked with Rutan for 26 years, said that the Model 437 may have a cost of $5 million to $6 million per aircraft, including a $2.4 million FJ-44A engine by Williams International. With a top speed of .85 Mach, the Model 437 is to be able to fly alongside the F-35. Model 437 is to have a 3,000 nautical mile range.
- Northrop Grumman views the Model 437 as a possible forward sensor or “carriage extension” for manned fighters in contested environments.
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