Military Embedded Systems

SYERS-2 intel-gathering sensor flown on Global Hawk UAS


March 02, 2016

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

SAN DIEGO. A SYERS-2 intelligence gathering sensor flew on a Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk high altitude long endurance unmanned aircraft system (UAS), making it the first time this mature U.S. Air Force sensor was demonstrated on a high altitude UAS.

Following on the SYERS-2 flight, Northrop Grumman officials plan to fly an Optical Bar Camera (OBC) sensor and an MS-177 multi-spectral sensor later this year. This is not the first payload integration test aboard Global Hawk as NASA has integrated and flown more than 30 different information-gathering payloads on Global Hawk.

Existing Air Force Global Hawk aircraft can carry an Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS), Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP), and Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP). The addition of older and future sensors is possible via Northrop Grumman's innovative Universal Payload Adapter (UPA), which is a bracket that mounts to an existing Global Hawk airframe, enabling it to support a variety of payloads.

"Northrop Grumman is funding this study in order to prove that the system can affordably carry the same sensors as any other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance [ISR] aircraft," says Mick Jaggers, vice president and program manager, Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system programs, Northrop Grumman.

Flight tests are performed at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. facility in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force. The company and the Air Force reached a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) last year that enables the company to test previously unavailable sensors on the Global Hawk.


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