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Northrop Grumman Jackal

Expendable Loitering Munition Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)

United States | 2024

"The Northrop Grumman Jackal was unveiled at a special forces conference in May 2022 as a jet-powered loitering munition solution."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/08/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The ongoing war in Ukraine has placed a global spotlight on the value of drones and, in particular, the "loitering munition" subgroup. These Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) patrol the skies in search for ground targets of opportunity. The simplicity of the role, coupled with generally ease-of-operation in design, has allowed smaller global powers to develop indigenous solutions through local means - no longer making loitering munitions a tool of the superpower.

Northrop Grumman has teamed with the UAS experts at AeroVironment to development the man-portable "Jackal" loitering munition concept. Unlike other loitering munitions, typically driven by electric or combustion motors / engines driving propellers, the Jackal is powered by a turbojet engine to achieve excellent performance. The system can, therefore, reach straightline attack speeds of 300 miles-per-hour and has an operational range out to 60 miles, loitering over contested areas for fifteen minutes as it seeks and targets unsuspecting elements below.

The program began development in 2017 under the direction of the Armament Systems Division of Northrop Grumman out of Plymouth, Minnesota. It was unveiled at Special Operations Forces Industry Conference 2022 held in Florida during May 2022.

The aircraft is given a missile-like appearance with a tubular body, rounded nosecone, and twin-finned (outward-canted) tail unit. Mainplanes are affixed at midships and are low-mounted with down-turned tips. An air intake is set ahead of the tailplanes for the air-breathing turbojet unit.

While an attack platform at heart, the Jackal is being developed as a multirole over-battlefield solution through modularity. Beyond its ability to carry a 10 lb war head, the airframe is also able to accept special-mission equipment (such as jammers and sensors) in its place to better cover the traditional Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) role.

For AeroVironment's part in the program, this advanced attack drone product is an evolution to its highly-regarded "Switchblade" line of expendable loitering munitions (detailed elsewhere on this site) coupled with the backing of American defense powerhouse Northrop Grumman.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Northrop Grumman Jackal Expendable Loitering Munition Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).
1 x Turbojet engine of unknown make, model, and thrust output.
326 mph
525 kph | 283 kts
Max Speed
289 mph
465 kph | 251 kts
Cruise Speed
20,013 ft
6,100 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
62 miles
100 km | 54 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Northrop Grumman Jackal Expendable Loitering Munition Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Northrop Grumman Jackal Expendable Loitering Munition Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) .
10lb explosive impact-detonated warhead integrated into the airframe; can be replaced with special-mission equipment as needed.
Notable series variants as part of the Northrop Grumman Jackal family line.
Jackal - Base Series Name.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Northrop Grumman Jackal. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 5 Units

Contractor(s): AeroVironment / Northrop Grumman - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States (possible) ]
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Image of the Northrop Grumman Jackal
Image from Northrop Grumman.

Going Further...
The Northrop Grumman Jackal Expendable Loitering Munition Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) appears in the following collections:
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