WASHINGTON — Former Air Force program manager and Northrop Grumman executive Mike Leahy will replace Fred Kennedy as head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Tactical Technology Office, the agency’s director said.
Leahy will be joining the agency in late May, DARPA Director Steven Walker told SpaceNews on Wednesday following a breakfast meeting with reporters.
Kennedy was director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office for two years and recently left the agency to become the first director the Defense Department’s Space Development Agency.
Leahy is best known in defense technology circles as the “father of the X-45.” He was program manager of the joint Air Force/DARPA X-45A unmanned combat air vehicle in the late 1990s. At the time, the Air Force was resisting the idea that fighter pilots could be replaced with autonomous drones. Leahy was featured in Wired Magazine as a pioneer of unmanned combat aviation who defied the establishment.
Leahy served in the Air Force for 27 years and retired as a colonel. He later held a number of senior positions at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems and worked on unmanned combat aircraft programs like the Air Force’s Global Hawk, the Navy’s Triton and NATO’s Alliance Ground ...