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Northrop Grumman Awarded Modification Contract

The United States Air Force has recently awarded Northrop Grumman, the American global defense and aerospace technology company, a $30.3 million modification contract in order to have eight Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) modified from Block 30 I into Block M variants. Under this contract, experts at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems division in San Diego, California will be upgrading and modernizing eight RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk long-range surveillance UAVs into the Global Hawk Block M versions.

The Global Hawk aircraft is a long-range, high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle which is capable of offering close to real-time intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) over vast areas. The Block 30 Global Hawk is equipped with complex and sophisticated electronic and imaging signals sensors for missions which can last up to 32 hours.

Officials at Northrop Grumman have stated that the Block 30M Global Hawk is designed to accommodate Northrop Grumman’s Airborne Signals Intelligence Payloads (ASIP) as well as Raytheon’s Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS) for gathering of intelligence and situational awareness spanning across large areas of land. With its ISR capabilities, the Block 30 Global Hawk is intended to augment or replace the Air Force’s current-serving U-2 high-altitude manned reconnaissance aircraft.

Raytheon’s EISS allows the Global Hawk to scan over large geographic regions with high quality imagery that can identify and distinguish a variety of types of people, vehicles, aircraft, and missiles, no matter the weather, day or night. The EISS offers reconnaissance imagery through the use of a high-resolution elector-optical (EO) digital camera, an all-weather aperture radar/moving target indicator (SAR/MTI), as well as a third-generation infrared (IR) sensor, all of which operate through a common signal processor. This enables the EISS to position information and transmit imagery from altitudes up to 60,000 feet with close to real-time speed with radar detection capabilities as well as night vision capabilities.


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