WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 15, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- U.S. and allied war fighters can look forward to a new larger, more capable model of the U.S. Air Force's Global Hawk unmanned aerial reconnaissance system. Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Integrated Systems sector, the Global Hawk prime contractor, has begun developing and producing the new RQ-4B model following a recent $30.1 million award by the Air Force for advanced procurement activities and long lead hardware.
The new RQ-4B configuration provides a 50-percent increase in Global Hawk's payload-carrying capacity while retaining its ability to meet the Air Force's operational requirements for altitude, endurance and range. The added capacity also expands Global Hawk's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to now include signal intelligence (SIGINT) payloads.
Northrop Grumman will produce three RQ-4B air vehicles at its Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility as part of the third lot of Global Hawk's low-rate initial production. The air vehicles will be delivered between 2004 and 2005.
"We've significantly improved its utility to the war fighter while maintaining overall system performance," said Carl O. Johnson, vice president and Global Hawk program manager. "The RQ-4B's ability to carry multiple sensors not only expands its value to the Air Force's command and control constellation, but also positions it to meet emerging requirements for the U.S. Navy and potential international customers."
Besides carrying additional SIGINT and ELINT payloads, the RQ-4B will be able to carry the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) payload currently being developed by Integrated Systems. It also will accommodate payloads that are being evaluated for the Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration scheduled for 2005 during the Fleet Battle Experiment-Mike activities.
Compared to the current Global Hawk, the RQ-4B has a larger wingspan (130.9 feet versus the current 116 feet) and a longer fuselage (47.6 feet versus the current 44 feet). Northrop Grumman has also improved the RQ-4B's electrical output power by 150 percent through the implementation of a new generator and minor changes to Global Hawk's current high performance Rolls-Royce AE-3007 engine.
The new LRIP Lot 3 contract also includes long-lead funding for one RQ-4A production air vehicle with the current integrated sensor suite (EO/IR and SAR), one launch and recovery element, and one mission control element.
Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration enterprise. As one of Northrop Grumman Corporation's seven sectors, it designs, develops, produces and supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems for U.S. government, civil and international customers. Integrated Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support military missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.
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