New Unmanned Carrier Aircraft Head at Northrop

Northrop Grumman has appointed a new head of its X-47B unmanned aircraft program, barely two weeks after the U.S. Navy named a new program manager for the unmanned carrier air system demonstrator program.

Janis Pamiljans, previously vice president and program manager of Northrop's aerial refueling tanker bid for the U.S. Air Force, takes over for Scott Winship as vice president of the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System (N-UCAS) program. Pamiljans also has worked as a program manager on the F/A-18 and F-35 strike fighter programs.

Capt. Jeff Penfield took over the Navy's X-47B program office on March 2, replacing Capt. Martin Deppe, who is retiring "for personal reasons," according to Navy officials.

Winship, who ran Northrop's N-UCAS effort for two years, will stay with the company.

"The depth and breadth of his expertise is significant," said Northrop spokesperson Cyndi Wegerbauer. "He's moving to other game-changing initiatives."

The personnel moves come as the effort to build and fly a prototype, unmanned jet combat aircraft from an aircraft carrier has fallen months behind schedule. The first of two development aircraft had been intended to take to the air for the first time last November, but the aircraft is still in ground taxi tests in California.

Penfield, in a March 5 interview, acknowledged the delays, but pending a program review could not set a date for the first test flight.

"I cannot tell you how far off," he said. "We've said we're going to fly later this year. My goal is to tell you precisely when we will fly later this year."
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