NASA's two Global Hawks – one configured as a tanker and the other as a receiver – fly in trail formation during the DARPA-Northrop Grumman autonomous UAV-to-UAV aerial refueling research project. (Northrop Grumman photo) › View Larger Image
Northrop Grumman Corp. and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), in cooperation with NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, recently completed a research project demonstrating autonomous aerial refueling between two unmanned, high-altitude aircraft.
NASA's two Global Hawk aircraft, one outfitted as a receiver and the other as a tanker, flew a series of demonstration flights in restricted airspace near Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., between January and May 2012 to validate the advanced UAV-to-UAV aerial refueling control system technology.
Results of the DARPA-funded research effort were detailed in news releases issued Oct. 5 by Northrop Grumman and DARPA.
Read Northrop Grumman release
Read DARPA release
NASA's two Global Hawk unmanned aircraft, one with a refueling hose trailing behind, fly in close formation during the DARPA-Northrop Grumman UAV-to-UAV aerial refueling demonstration. (Northrop Grumman photo) › View Larger Image