Global Hawk UAS

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract modification to continue the provision of support services for the US Air Force’s (USAF) RQ-4B Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

Awarded by the Global Hawk Systems Program Office, the $71m undefinitised contract represents an add-on to the Lot 10 contract secured earlier by the company for block load and production acceptance infrastructure.

Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector Global Hawk programme vice president George Guerra said the contract includes engineering support for the development and final acceptance testing of the Lot 10 aircraft and sensors.

"This contract will enable us to continue to provide our troops with Global Hawk’s unmatched intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for both domestic and international missions,” Guerra added.

Featuring a 22-month performance period starting from March 2013 through December 2014, the contract covers provision of support services for programme management, engineering and flight operations required for completion of Lot 10 aircraft and sensor deliveries to the air force.

The Lot 10 package includes two Block 30 systems comprising air vehicles with enhanced integrated sensor suite and airborne signals intelligence payload (ASIP), and two Block 40 systems involving air vehicles with multi-platform radar technology insertion programme payloads.

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Featuring three ASIP retrofits, including the sensors installed and flight tested in aircraft that were purchased in the previous lot, the Lot 10 deliveries to the USAF are set to be completed by the end of 2014.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance UAS designed to provide field commanders with high-resolution, near real-time imagery of large geographic areas in support of military, humanitarian and environmental missions worldwide.

Powered by Allison Rolls-Royce AE3007H turbofan engine, the UAS is also operated by the US Navy and German Air Force for surveillance operations.

Image: A Global Hawk UAS being readied for a runway taxi test at Beale Air Force Base in California, US. Photo: Courtesy of Cornellrockey04.

Defence Technology