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Northrop Grumman reconfigures Global Hawk for US DoD

14th December 2021 - 17:11 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Reconfiguration of the EQ-4 Global Hawks will occur at Northrop Grumman’s Grand Sky facility near Grand Forks, North Dakota. (Photo: Northrop Grumman)

US DoD contracts Northrop Grumman to reconfigure EQ-4 Global Hawks for SkyRange programme.

The US DoD Test Resource Management Center (TRMC) has contracted Northrop Grumman to begin engineering and planning work to reconfigure four USAF EQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk aircraft.

Northrop Grumman will reconfigure the aircraft for use in the SkyRange fleet of testing vehicles, the company currently provides support for TRMC’s current fleet of Global Hawk.

The SkyRange programme will equip the four high-altitude, long-endurance EQ-4 aircraft with sensors to demonstrate an alternative data collection support system for US hypersonic systems testing.

SkyRange is also repurposing aircraft such as RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-9 Reaper to support the hypersonic flight tests.

The programme is also being supported by NASA, which entered into a $70 million contract with Northrop Grumman in December 2020 for a similar process of reconfiguring Global Hawks.

Northrop Grumman also report that Global Hawk is receiving ground station, cyber resiliency and mission planning upgrades for it to deliver intelligence and perform new missions without endangering personnel.

According to Shephard Defence Insight, the EQ variant of the RQ-4 Global Hawk is equipped with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, used to transmit battlespace information.

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