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RQ-4 Global Hawk completes first production acceptance multi-intelligence sensor flight

Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk.

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA (BNS): The newest Northrop Grumman Corporation built RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft completed the first of many production acceptance flights of an operational Block 30 multi-intelligence sensor package on May 25, flown from Palmdale, California.

Block 30 Global Hawks are currently equipped with both EO/IR and SAR sensors as components of the Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS) built by Raytheon, and they have provided round-the-clock support for both military and humanitarian efforts overseas, George Guerra, HALE Systems vice president, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, was quoted as saying in the company news release.

"The ASIP will be added to the EISS on the Block 30 Global Hawks, which will provide a persistent level of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance that has never before been provided by any aircraft," he added.

The Global Hawk flight marks a new era of increased operational intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability flown with multiple sensors simultaneously from a single platform. The multi-intelligence sensor package includes the airborne signals intelligence payload (ASIP) manufactured by Northrop Grumman and the enhanced integrated sensor suite that includes electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR), and synthetic aperture radar (SAR). The ASIP system includes both electronics and communications collection capability.

There are currently nine Block 30 Global Hawks located at forward operating locations. In time, those nine Global Hawks will rotate through the Palmdale facility to have the ASIP sensor added to their current EISS-only Block 30 configuration. It will be a seamless addition because the Block 30s are already configured to accept ASIP. The addition of the ASIP provides the warfighter with critical ISR collection capability that extends beyond imagery, the report added.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk flies up to 60,000 feet, above weather and commercial air traffic. Global Hawk flies for more than 32 hours per sortie at speeds approaching 340 knots. As the world's first fully autonomous HALE UAS, Global Hawk Block 30 will soon be operational in remote areas of the globe with ASIP, performing this new persistent and critical ISR mission.

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