Hat tip to Blake from the Fly With Blake blog for posting a picture of the Firebird OVP – one cool looking aircraft that can also fly with or without a pilot too. That’s because its from a whole new class of aircraft called Optionally Piloted Vehicles (OVPs). In other words, it’s a UAV where a pilot is optional.
According to a recent article in GizMag, Northrop Grumman’s Firebird is designed to be a Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance aircraft that will help military users gather real-time high definition video, listen in on communication signals and view infrared imagery. The Firebird also has a wingspan of 19.8 meters (65 feet), is 10.3 meters (34 feet) long and 3 meters (9.7 feet) high plus it can fly at altitudes of up to 30,000 feet for 24 to 40 hours (depending upon its configuration). However, it’s the manned or unmanned flight option that really sets the Firebrand apart from similar aircraft.
And if you want to see more pictures of the Firebrand, be sure to check out the image gallery on GizMag.