Military Trends, Technology, and International Developments > Unmanned Vehicles

RQ-4 Global Hawk



--- Quote ---RQ-4A Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial reconnaissance system which provides military field commanders with high resolution, near real-time imagery of large geographic areas.

The programme is funded by the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO) and managed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Air Force.

Northrop Grumman Corporation, Ryan Aeronautical Centre is the prime contractor and the principal suppliers include Raytheon Systems (sensors), Rolls-Royce North America (turbofan engine), Boeing North American (carbon fibre wing) and L3 Communications (communications system).

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RQ-4B next generation reconnaissance drone

Northrop Grumman is developing the next-generation, RQ-4B, which has a 50% payload increase, larger wingspan (130.9ft) and longer fuselage (47.6ft), and new generator to provide 150% more electrical output. Three RQ-4B air vehicles (block 20) were initially ordered plus a further five ordered in November 2005. Block 20 aircraft also have an upgraded sensor suite.
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From IHS Jane's 360

Northrop Grumman begins Optical Bar Camera testing on Global Hawk - 13 October 2016

--- Quote ---Northrop Grumman successfully flew a UTC Aerospace Optical Bar Camera (OBC) broad-area synoptic sensor on an RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS), company officials announced on 12 October.
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Northrop Grumman is testing U-2 sensor payloads - continuing with the Optical Bar Camera - on the RQ-4 Global Hawk.
Source: USAF


USAF begins training enlisted Global Hawk pilots - 08 November 2016

--- Quote ---Two USAF master sergeants completed their first solo flight on a Diamond DA-20 Katana light aircraft on 3 November, as part of the USAF's wider plans to allow enlisted personnel to operate the Global Hawk UAV. Currently, only officers are permitted to fly manned or unmanned platforms for the air force.

Although the Global Hawk is unmanned, the 1st Flying Training Squadron's flight training programme is mandatory for all manned aircraft pilots, combat systems officers, and remotely piloted aircraft pilots.
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Northrop starts flight testing MS-177 sensor payload on RQ-4 Global Hawk | air recognition - 01 March 2017

--- Quote ---The flight tests mark the first time the sensor has been flown on a high altitude long-range autonomous aircraft and extend the mission capabilities of the system. The MS-177 sensor is designed to provide capabilities to not only "find" targets using broad area search and different sensing technologies, but to also fix, track, and assess targets through its agility and multiple sensing modalities.

The MS-177 testing is expected to continue through the first half of 2017. The successful flight test at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, California facility follows the demonstrations of two sensors previously unavailable on the Global Hawk. Northrop Grumman successfully flew a SYERS-2 intelligence gathering sensor in February 2016 and has recently completed flight tests of the Optical Bar Camera.
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Northrop wins $130 mn order to launch Japan's Global Hawk Block 30 program | Air Recognition - 06 October 2017

--- Quote ---This contract includes long lead material to initiate the program for three global hawk block 30 RPAS, two ground control elements, enhanced integrated sensor suite, spares, and a site survey, the US DoD said.
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An RQ-4 Global Hawk from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam lands at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 24, 2014. The aircraft is part of the 69th Reconnaissance Group Detachment 1 and is the first Global Hawk to land in Japanese territory (Credit: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb)

RQ-4 Global Hawk drones to be delivered to South Korea | Air Recognition - 21 April 2020 11:45

--- Quote ---According to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, Harris’ decision to announce the delivery on Twitter has drawn controversy in Seoul, where the current government has been trying to avoid emphasizing certain sensitive military deliveries, Ankit Panda reports on The Diplomat. According to an anonymous South Korean military source cited by Yonhap, South Korea’s “basic stance is that we do not publicize such things for security reasons.” This source added that “Global Hawk is a key surveillance asset, though we understand high public interest in it.” The United States and South Korea finalized a deal in December 2017 worth $657 million for the transfer of the surveillance drones and their associated spare parts and control equipment.
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Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk HALE drone delivered to South Kora (Picture source: U.S. State Department)


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