Global Hawk exchanges radar data with Joint STARS
The US Air Force’s (USAF’s) E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) aircraft has successfully exchanged radar data with the Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 40 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) during a flight test conducted on 25 February.
The collaborative effort saw ground moving target radar data streamed from the Global Hawk Block 40 UAV to the Joint STARS aircraft. It was the first time that the interoperability of both platforms was demonstrated, with the Global Hawk essentially acting as an external sensor for the Joint STARS aircraft.
From the Joint STARS aircraft, information can be relayed to ground forces. This capability has the potential to improve and expand surveillance capabilities for deployed forces.
Bryan Lima, Joint STARS program director at Northrop Grumman, said: ‘This is a significant leap forward in terms of possible capabilities for our warfighters. Findings showed increased precision, improved target tracking and the ability to extend the surveillance coverage area. By combining the capabilities of these platforms, we've unlocked increased battle management potential, not only by expanding coverage of the surveillance area, but also for compressing the targeting and attack decision chain for warfighters.
‘Operators in the Joint STARS aircraft were able to use the Global Hawk as an adjunct sensor. We were able to display and use the Global Hawk's radar data on the Joint STARS platform to extend and improve the overall surveillance capabilities and utility of both platforms.’
Joint STARS is an airborne battle management and command and control platform that conducts ground surveillance of fixed and moving ground targets to develop an understanding of the enemy situation and support location, tracking, targeting and attack operations.
Global Hawk carries a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor payloads that allow military commanders to gather imagery and use radar to detect moving or stationary targets on the ground. Capable of flying for more than 30 hours at a time at altitudes up to 60,000 feet, the system also provides airborne communications and information sharing capabilities to military units in harsh environments.
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