Raytheon and Northrop win contracts to modernise USAF’s RQ-4 Global Hawk

22 August 2016 (Last Updated August 22nd, 2016 18:30)

Raytheon has received a $104m subcontract to modernise the US Air Force's (USAF) RQ-4 Global Hawk autonomous aircraft.

Raytheon has received a $104m subcontract to modernise the US Air Force's (USAF) RQ-4 Global Hawk autonomous aircraft.

In a separate development, Northrop Grumman was also contracted by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to modernise the aircraft's ground segment.

Raytheon and Northrop will together carry out the modernisation of the Global Hawk system, in a bid to increase reliability, capability and sustainability.

Northrop Grumman-built Global Hawk is the USAF's high-altitude, long-endurance platform used to gather a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data.

Raytheon said it provides modernised ground controls to enhance capabilities, safety and cybersecurity of Global Hawk operations across the world.

It will develop and install building-based mission control stations at Beale and Grand Forks Air Force Bases, by replacing the existing, shelter-based, mission control and launch and recovery elements.

Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services (IIS) mission support and modernisation vice-president Todd Probert said: "The Raytheon and Northrop Grumman team delivers innovative solutions that help the Air Force develop critical battlefield intelligence capability.

"We modernise systems with a unique approach that enhances the mission and reduces overall costs."

"The Raytheon and Northrop Grumman team delivers innovative solutions that help the Air Force develop critical battlefield intelligence capability."

The modernisation will provide the RQ-4 with a modular and scalable cockpit architecture with improved command and control capacity across all sensors and missions, Northrop said in a statement.

Global Hawks can operate at altitudes up to 60,000ft for more than 30 hours continuously, supporting combatant commander requirements.

The RQ-4 fleet performs a variety of missions such as near real-time imagery, signals intelligence, airborne communications gateway and tactical networking.


Image: A US Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk in flight. Photo: courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corp.