Optical Bar camera sensor on RQ-4
Northrop Grumman has successfully flown an Optical Bar camera broad-area synoptic sensor on an RQ-4 Global Hawk high altitude long endurance (HALE) UAS, the company announced on 12 October.
The flight is the second of three planned demonstrations to fly legacy US Air Force sensors on board the Global Hawk. The first took place in February, when the UAS successfully flew with a SYERS-2 intelligence gathering sensor. For the next demonstration, the company plans to fly an MS-177 multi-spectral sensor later in 2016.
The high-altitude Optical Bar camera provides panoramic and unalterable imagery. The integration is possible due to Northrop Grumman's open mission systems architecture and universal payload adapter.
The payload is being integrated 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.
Mick Jaggers, vice president and program manager, Global Hawk program, Northrop Grumman, said: ‘The successful flight of the Optical Bar camera is another significant step in the evolution of Global Hawk. It’s the result of our focus on increasing capability, reducing sustainment costs and fielding the open mission systems architecture that enables faster integration of cutting edge sensors at lower costs.’
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