Northrop Grumman Corporation  is sponsoring a team of high school students from Dickson College who are competing in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Outback Challenge 2013, aimed at promoting UAVs and demonstrating their vehicles in civilian applications.

As part of the UAV Challenge the students will develop their own UAV. They are required to design, build and fly a UAV capable of delivering life-saving supplies to a lost or injured individual, known as Outback Joe. The team must locate Outback Joe using clues and waypoints, and deliver the payload as close to him as possible. Dickson College students develop a number of vehicles based on the PX4 architecture in Ardurover, Arduplane and Arducopter configurations. 

"The UAV Challenge requires students to apply their combined skills and knowledge of robotics, computing and mathematics as they attempt to develop an unmanned airborne delivery system," said the Hon Dr Mike Kelly AM, MP, Australian Minister for Defence Materiel. "These are real-life professional skills which are being developed and honed and I am very pleased to see industry playing a leading role in supporting these types of initiatives."

Northrop Grumman participates in a number of educational programs in countries around the world that are aimed at promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The partnership with Dickson College is the first long-term commitment made by the company to foster STEM efforts in Australia.

"This is a great opportunity to mentor tomorrow's leaders in aerospace and other technical career fields and to help create a future generation of aerospace professionals with a focus on UAVs," said Ian Irving, chief executive, Australia for Northrop Grumman. "Forging this partnership with Dickson College provides students with tangible ways to explore and develop their field of interest -- whether that is engineering, mathematics, science or project management."

In addition to providing the funding for the Dickson College team to begin development of their UAV, Northrop Grumman executives and employees will also meet with the students to provide key insights about their progress.

"We are delighted to have Northrop Grumman's support for our UAV program, " said Rob Emanuel, principal of Dickson College. "This partnership between industry and education is vitally important to us and enables us to provide exciting and challenging opportunities for our students to work with cutting-edge technology and understand the opportunities that exist for them once they graduate."

The UAV Challenge has been developed to promote the significance of UAVs to Australia. The event is a joint government, industry and research organization initiative between the Queensland government and the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation, Aviation Development Australia and the Aerial Unmanned Vehicle Systems of Australia. Please visit http://www.uavoutbackchallenge.com.au/ for more information.

About Dickson College

Dickson College is a year 11 and 12 public school located in Canberra, Australia. The school offers a wide range of learning opportunities including industry focused science, engineering and technology programs. Please visit www.dicksonc.act.edu.au or andrew.moss@ed.act.edu.au for more information.

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