Wed, Oct 05, 2005
UAV Gets New Sensor Suite
Northrop Grumman Corporation says it has completed acceptance
testing of the first production version of a new integrated sensor
suite that will enhance imaging capability for the US Air Force.
The milestone clears the way for the company to begin installing
the improved sensor package, which includes electro-optical and
infrared cameras and synthetic aperture radar, on its RQ-4A Global
Hawk air vehicles.
Raytheon Space & Airborne Systems produces the sensor
package for Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk program.
"The installation of this new sensor package on Global Hawk is a
significant milestone for the program," said George Guerra,
Northrop Grumman's Air Force Global Hawk program manager. "The
imagery provided by this sensor, even under the worst imaginable
environmental conditions on the ground, will go a long way in
meeting the needs of the warfighter."
The new sensor package features improvements derived from
technology developed and used on the U-2 program. Its new imaging
modes are improved from the current Global Hawk sensor suite, which
drew praise during Operation Iraqi Freedom for its ability to "see"
potential targets and help guide allied troop movements through
blinding sandstorms. Northrop Grumman expects to accept several
more production sensor suites from Raytheon later this year.
Two RQ-4A Global Hawks with the new production sensor suites are
ready to deploy this fall in the global war on terrorism.
With more than 4,500 hours flown in combat, Global Hawk has
provided thousands of quality images directly to battlefield
commanders during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
The new sensor package will allow warfighters to receive better
imagery from Global Hawk than ever before.
Global Hawk flies autonomously at an altitude of at least 60,000
feet, above inclement weather and prevailing winds for more than 35
hours. During a single mission, it provides detailed intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance information in near-real time over
40,000 square miles - an area approximately the size of
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