Drones news

Global Hawk readies for new payload tests

Global Hawk readies for new payload tests
Global Hawk readies for new payload tests. Northrop Grumman has scheduled
<p>Northrop Grumman has scheduled<strong> flight tests</strong> of three <strong>new payloads</strong> for the<strong> RQ-4B Global Hawk</strong> fleet next year.</p> <p>The tests are made possible by the development of a universal payload adaptor jointly funded by Northrop and the US Air Force.</p> <p>In its original form, the RQ-4B lacked the payload attach points to fit two sensors carried by the Lockheed Martin U-2S, the reconnaissance aircraft the Global Hawk is scheduled to replace after Fiscal 2019.</p> <p>The optical bar camera is used to monitor the Sinai peninsula in Egypt, fulfilling US treaty obligations.</p> <p>The senior year electro-optical reconnaissance system (SYERS-2) payload is used by the U-2 to collect multi-spectral images, a product that proved useful in the last decade for detecting improvised explosive devices recently buried in the ground.</p> <p>Both sensors will be demonstrated on board the RQ-4 during 2016, says Mike Lyons, a Northrop business development director. The 544kg (1,200lb) UPA was observed fitted to an RQ-4B on a tour of Northrop&rsquo;s Global Hawk assembly line in Palmdale, California on 10 December.</p> <p>The SYERS-2 flight test will be performed as a demonstration, Lyons says. The air force plans to install an upgraded version of the sensor, called the MS-177, for operational service.</p> <p>The MS-177 includes modernized optronics and a gimbaled rotation device, increasing the field of view of the sensor by 20&deg; without needing to change the flight path of the aircraft, Lyons says.</p>