The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4B Block 30 Global Hawk for Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) exercises.
It is the latest deployment of the uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) for the US European Command (USEUCOM).
Currently, Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk Ground Segment Modernization Program (GSMP) is in the integration and testing phase.
The programme seeks to enhance the overall mission capabilities of the platform.
USAF used Global Hawk to provide high-altitude, long-endurance support, delivering near real-time on-demand data to monitor the battlefield.
With its imagery and signals intelligence collection capabilities, Global Hawk plays a key role in autonomous high-altitude, long-endurance systems in several missions.
Northrop Grumman Global Hawk vice-president Leslie Smith said: “Global Hawk is critical today and indispensable tomorrow as we continue to invest in new capabilities to improve system flexibility, resilience and responsiveness.
“We are adopting proven advancements in technology and infrastructure to provide modernised cockpits, dynamic mission rerouting, OMS compliant payload computing, universal payload adapters and IP-based communications.”
The RQ-4B is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial reconnaissance system designed to provide high-resolution imagery of large geographic areas in near real-time for military field commanders.
It has a larger wingspan and longer fuselage, and new generator. The RQ-4 has a range of more than 12,300nm, can fly up to 60,000ft and remain airborne for over 32 hours.
Global Hawk can also provide continuous communications relay and secure processing.
These capabilities will be crucial in supporting the US Department of Defense (DoD) to realise its Joint-All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) vision.
In June, Northrop completed the first flight of Japan’s second RQ-4B Global Hawk, following the completion of the maiden flight of the first RQ-4B Global Hawk UAV in April from Palmdale, California, US.