EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Feb. 2, 2009 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has received U.S. Air Force approval to begin a portion of Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) Radar System Level Performance Verification (RSLPV) flight testing. The approval comes following a successful test readiness review for the MP-RTIP sensor's Synthetic Aperture Radar imaging mode. This radar is slated for the RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial system (UAS) currently in production.
The RSLPV flight test program will take place over the next several weeks with an Air Force report on its success due by the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2009.
"This is a major milestone for the MP-RTIP program," said Duke Dufresne, vice president and general manager, Strike & Surveillance Systems. "The RSLPV test program will verify that the radar meets operational requirements established by the Air Force including Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Spot image capabilities, SAR Swath imaging wide area capability and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) capability to detect and track moving vehicles on the ground.
"We are confident that the verification test flights will be successful and will demonstrate the value the Block 40 Global Hawk to provide a new generation surveillance capability," Dufresne said.
For RSLPV, the sensor is being flown on Northrop Grumman's Proteus aircraft as a surrogate for the first Block 40 Global Hawk. By verifying sensor performance on Proteus, the sensor testing has progressed without impact to production, significantly lowering the risk with regard to the Global Hawk's operational capability.
The first Block 40 Global Hawk, AF-18, has been built at Palmdale, CA, and is undergoing testing in preparation for its first flight later this year. Sensor development continues on schedule, with flight test scheduled to start this summer.
Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the MP-RTIP and Global Hawk programs and continues to move these technologies forward under the stewardship of the Air Force's Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the Electronic Systems Center, located at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. Northrop Grumman's Norwalk, Conn., facility is the principal MP-RTIP radar developer along with principal subcontractor, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, El Segundo, Calif.
The Global Hawk system has logged more than 28,500 total program flight hours, of which more than 21,500 hours were flown in support of the global war on terrorism. The Global Hawk's range, endurance and large payload capabilities make it an ideal system to support a variety of customers.
As the world's first fully autonomous HALE UAS providing persistent ground surveillance data over a wide area for both military intelligence analysis and warfighters' battle management and targeting, the Global Hawk Block 40 will fly up to 60,000 feet for more than 33 hours and see through any inclement weather at any time.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.
CONTACT: Jim Stratford Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (321) 726-7526 firstname.lastname@example.org