Global Hawk flies with SYERS-2 sensor
Northrop Grumman has demonstrated the ability of the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAS to carry the SYERS-2 intelligence gathering sensor during flight testing as it looks to expand the payload options of the aircraft.
The flight test was conducted at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale facility in California in cooperation with the US Air Force.
The payload is being tested as part of proposals to boost the ISR capabilities of Global Hawk and prepare the UAS to take over the role of the manned U-2S Dragon Lady when it is retired from service at the end of this decade.
Existing models of the US Air Force Global Hawk are capable of carrying an Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS), Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP) and Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP). The SYERS-2 sensor was added with the help of the company’s universal payload adapter (UPA) mounted to the UAS' airframe.
Mick Jaggers, vice president and program manager, Global Hawk UAS program, Northrop Grumman, said: ‘This SYERS-2 flight is only the beginning. We firmly believe that with the addition of the UPA, Global Hawk is capable of flying any mission the USAF requires.
‘Northrop Grumman is funding this study in order to prove that the system can affordably carry the same sensors as any other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. We look forward to continuing to work with our air force partners on this groundbreaking solution.’
The company plans to fly an MS-177 multi-spectral sensor and an optical bar camera sensor later in 2016.
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