Northrop Grumman has successfully completed a series of high-altitude, long-endurance RQ-4 Global Hawk demonstrations, featuring its mission management and control systems capabilities.
During the demonstration, the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) responded to external requests to alter its route of flight and sensor functionality, the company stated.
In addition, it confirmed that that Global Hawk will be able to integrate advanced mission management capability without changes to the air vehicle software.
Northrop Grumman CMMS programme director Michael Leahy said: "Northrop Grumman’s Control Mission Management System (CMMS) team is proud to contribute to the standardisation of command and control (C2) systems for multiple UAS.
"Our customers’ advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements call for modern ground control systems based on emerging standards that can be used across air vehicle platforms, that’s what we strive to deliver."
The new development was in support of the US Air Force’s Common Mission Control Center (CMCC) programme.
Northrop’s Global Hawk interfaced to the CMCC using the UAS C2 Initiative (UCI) message set, a new standard that supports interoperability across multiple weapon systems.
The demonstration of this capability to interface with this new message standard, the company has revealed the growth potential of the UAS.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk UAS is designed to provide field commanders with high-resolution, near real-time imagery of large geographic areas in support of military, humanitarian and environmental missions.
The remotely piloted UAS has been used by the USAF during wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, in addition to supporting intelligence gathering and reconnaissance efforts after the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan.
Image: Northrop’s RQ-4 Global Hawk UAS enables commanders to detect moving or stationary targets on the ground. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corporation.