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Enhanced Global Hawk to roll out 25 June

17th June 2009 - 11:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


USAF and Northrop Grumman officials will roll out the first Block 40 RQ-4 Global Hawk on 25 June at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, CA.

The Block 40 carries the Multi-platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) enhanced sensor suite. The Air Force plans to purchase 15 of the Block 40 variant.

'The RQ-4 Block 40 weapon system primarily supports the warfighter's battle management command and control (BMC2) mission while also supporting the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission. Its multi-mode MP-RTIP radar provides enhanced ground moving target indication and high quality radar imagery,' said Dr Yvette Weber, engineering director with the 303rd Aeronautical Systems Group at Wright-Patterson, which manages the Global Hawk system.

The development of the MP-RTIP sensor suite is managed by the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA. The prime contractor for this new sensor is Northrop Grumman in El Segundo, CA.

The Global Hawk system consists of the RQ-4 aircraft, mission control element, launch and recovery element, sensors, communication links, support element and trained personnel. The Block 20 system employs a side-looking synthetic aperture radar, electro-optical and medium-wave infrared sensors. The Block 30 system adds a signals intelligence capability. This latest Block 40 variant adds battle management and control capability.

To date, the Air Force has completed acceptance of the seven Block 10 aircraft. Six Block 20 aircraft have been purchased and another six Block 30 aircraft are in various stages of test and acceptance, Weber said.

A total of 15 Block 40 aircraft are planned for production, with the first aircraft scheduled for delivery to Grand Forks Air Force Base, ND, in 2011, Air Force officials said.

Derek Kaufman, 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Shephard News Team


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