SAN DIEGO - The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman Corp a $354 million primarily firm-fixed-price contract to expand their RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) fleet by three aircraft.
Source: Northrop Grumman
Global Hawk operates multiple sensors simultaneously to gather intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data. The new aircraft are Multi-INT models that carry sophisticated imaging and electronic signals sensors capable of collecting multiple types of intelligence from high altitudes for up to 32 hours.
The contract also includes retrofit kits to add Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP) sensors into two of the existing RQ-4, providing them with Multi-INT capability. ASIP is an advanced ISR collection sensor also built by Northrop Grumman.
The aircraft will bring the Air Force RQ-4 fleet size to 37 in 2017. The ASIP retrofit kits are scheduled for delivery in late 2016 and in 2017. All RQ-4 UAS fuselages are built at Northrop Grumman facilities in Moss Point, Mississippi, with final assembly and acceptance testing is conducted in Palmdale.
The RQ-4 is powered by a single Rolls-Royce AE 3007 turbofan.
The different variants of Global Hawk have flown more than 126,000 flight hours supporting diverse global missions. Carrying a variety of ISR sensor and communications gateway payloads, Global Hawk supports antiterrorism, antipiracy, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, airborne communications relay, information-sharing and the full range of operational combat missions.