U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. a $114 million
advance procurement contract in preparation to build three more RQ-4
Global Hawk unmanned aircraft systems and associated sensors. The
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft allows
military commanders to receive high-resolution imagery, survey vast
geographic regions and pinpoint targets on the ground.
contract provides for advance procurement of three Block 30 aircraft,
including three enhanced integrated sensor suites, three airborne
signals intelligence payload (ASIP) and two ASIP retrofit kits to be
installed on previously purchased aircraft. The work under this
contract is expected to be completed in 2015.
Hawk can remain airborne for more than 30 hours at high altitudes
while gathering multiple types of intelligence data. Combined
with Global Hawk's ability to fly for long periods at altitudes up to
60,000 feet, the aircraft's 12,300 nautical mile range makes the
system ideally suited to take on many different ISR missions.
system has logged more than 100,000 flight hours and has been used
over battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The system has also
supported ISR efforts following the devastating earthquakes that
struck Haiti and Japan.
addition, NASA has been using Global Hawks for scientific and
environmental research, recently flying over two hurricanes in
September as part of a broader project studying how tropical storms
develop over the Atlantic Ocean.