A variant of an unmanned Army aircraft called the Hunter has made its maiden flight.
The Endurance Hunter is designed to fly up to 30 hours at altitudes in excess of 20,000 feet.
The original Hunter aircraft first flew in 1991. It can fly at 15,000 feet for 12 hours, according to the manufacturer. Two soldiers control the Hunter with specialized equipment mounted in the back of a humvee.
Northrop Grumman bases its Hunter program, along with its other unmanned aerial vehicle programs, in Rancho Bernardo.
The Endurance Hunter, or E-Hunter, is a cross between two Hunter variants. The fuselage comes from the original model. The wing and tail components come from a more modern model called Hunter II.
The company says the new model will allow the Army to convert its existing Hunters into extended range versions.
The flight of the Hunter variant occurred March 17 at Northrop Grumman’s test facility near Douglas, Ariz. The company released the information Monday.
Doug Valenzuela manages the E-Hunter program.