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Diamond, Northrop Grumman Join Forces

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Diamond Aircraft has slowly been recovering from some tough economic times, and last week the company took another step forward, announcing a new collaboration with Northrop Grumman. The two companies will work together to build new intelligence-gathering aircraft in Ottawa, Ontario, starting with manned models by the end of this year, and then collaborating on unmanned aerial systems. "Diamond Aircraft has a long history of superior design and manufacturing processes for propeller-driven general aviation aircraft," said George Vardoulakis, vice president of medium-range tactical systems for Northrop Grumman. "Combined with Northrop Grumman's leadership in manned and unmanned systems, we can pool our expertise to explore new opportunities for our customers worldwide."

As part of this effort, Northrop Grumman will establish a presence in Ontario, near Diamond Aircraft's production facility at London International Airport. Diamond has been working on surveillance-equipped models of its DA42 light twin for several years, flying it in both manned and unmanned versions. "Diamond makes a very stable aircraft," Northrop Grumman spokesman Warren Cromer told the London Free Press. "It is proven and mature and it fits our capabilities." Diamond also recently announced a new $7.8 million contract to sell a fleet of 22 training aircraft to CTI Professional Flight Training, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The flight school chose the DA20-C1 as its primary trainer and the DA42 as its complex, multi-engine trainer.

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