Sparks, Nev., September 08, 2014 – The U.S. National Aeronautical Association (NAA) has recognized Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) with the Robert J. Collier Trophy for one of the company’s “greatest achievement in aeronautics.” Teamed with Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy, SNC received the award for its contributions to the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System-Demonstrator (UCAS-D) program. Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy presented SNC with the Collier Trophy Friday, September 5, 2014 at the company’s headquarters in Sparks, Nevada.
Auto-land recovery of the X-47B aboard an aircraft carrier was a major UCAS-D program milestone achieved in 2013. SNC’s team provided the precision navigation via differential GPS (DGPS) technology (PNav) and contributed significantly to the development of the guidance and control system, all of which are critical to successfully auto-landing an unmanned aircraft on an aircraft carrier. Greg Cox, corporate vice president for SNC’s Communication, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) business area accepted the award on behalf of the company.
“We are honored to be recognized by NAA for our role in achieving this milestone in naval aviation,” said Cox.
The X-47B is a tailless, strike fighter-sized unmanned aircraft able to autonomously operate from and perform arrested landings upon an aircraft carrier. The unmanned aircraft was developed by Northrop Grumman as part of the U.S. Navy's UCAS-D program. Under a contract awarded in 2007, the company designed, produced and is currently flight testing two X-47B aircraft.
“The technical contributions of the Sierra Nevada Team were key to the resounding success of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration,” said Carl Johnson, vice president and U.S. Navy UCAS program manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.
In 2013, these aircraft were used to successfully demonstrate the first ever carrier-based launches and recoveries by an autonomous, low-observable relevant unmanned aircraft. The program is currently maturing relevant carrier launch, landing and integration technologies.
"SNC, a key member of the X-47B government-industry team, is most deserving of the elite recognition of the Collier Trophy,” said CAPT Beau Duarte, program manager for the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program. “Through its tireless contributions to navigation technology maturation, SNC enabled our highly successful sea-based detachments, which clearly demonstrated that an unmanned air system could be controlled precisely, reliably, and repeatably in the harsh carrier environment."
Since its inception in 1910, the Collier Trophy has honored groups or individuals for greatly improving the performance, efficiency and safety of air or space vehicles annually. System improvements must be thoroughly tested and demonstrated through actual use during the preceding year to qualify. As a result, the list of Collier winners represents an aviation timeline, with many of the awardees marking major events in the history of flight.
“For over 100 years, the Collier Trophy has been the barometer of the advancement of aviation and aerospace in the United States and around the world,” said Jonathan Gaffney, President and CEO of NAA. “The work of the United States Navy, Northrop Grumman and the entire X-47B Team is certainly reflective of the timeless achievement that is the hallmark of this remarkable award.”
About Sierra Nevada Corporation
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), headquartered in Sparks, Nevada, is one of America's fastest growing private companies based on its significant expansion and reputation for rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft, communications systems and solar energy. Under the leadership of CEO Fatih Ozmen and President Eren Ozmen, SNC has a workforce of over 3,000 personnel in 31 locations in 17 states. SNC's six unique business areas are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to SNC's dynamic customer base.
SNC is also the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractor in the United States. Over the last 30 years under the Ozmen's leadership, SNC has remained focused on providing its customers the very best in diversified technologies to meet their needs and has a strong and proven track record of success. The company continues to focus its growth also on the commercial sector through internal advancements in dual-use applications and outside acquisitions, including the emerging markets of renewable energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, cyber and net-centric operations. For more information on SNC visit www.sncorp.com and follow us at Facebook.com/SierraNevCorp.