|A Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk. Photo: Wikipedia|
[Avionics Today 09-16-2014] The U.S. Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman a $354 million primarily firm-fixed-price contract to expand their RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) fleet by three aircraft. 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. 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.
Global Hawk, which supports the full range of operational combat missions, 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.