Northrop Grumman said today it completed the first flight of an RQ-4 Global Hawk using a modernised ground control station for the unmanned air vehicle (UAV).
The flight for the Global Hawk Ground Station Modernization Program (GSMP) was conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, California, earlier this month.
The GSMP team transformed both the human-machine interface and the underlying software, paving the way for interoperability with other Air Force systems, enhanced responsiveness to ad hoc tasking, and lower impact updates in the future.
The modernized Global Hawk ground stations feature new cockpit displays, the ability to fly all Global Hawk variants without software or configuration changes, simpler maintenance interfaces, and improved situational awareness and environmental conditions for pilots and sensor operators.
“Not only will it allow the operators to conduct their missions from an enhanced, building-based control element, it will deliver critical Diminished Manufacturing Sources solutions and system security enhancements that will ensure this vital capability continues to be secure from cyber threats,” said Colonel William Collins, Global Hawk System Program Director, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.
“New, modern ground stations for Global Hawk will significantly improve the system and allow operators to more efficiently deliver timely ISR data to warfighters and connect the joint force through its global communications node mission,” said Leslie Smith, vice president Global Hawk, Northrop Grumman.
Last month, the company was awarded $4.8 billion for Global Hawk surveillance drone development, modernization, retrofit and sustainment activities for all Air Force Global Hawk variants.