Northrop Grumman to correct software deficiencies in advanced radar for Global Hawk Block 40 UAV

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass., 18 July 2014. The cost of a Northrop Grumman Corp. project to develop a next-generation airborne radar to track slow-moving ground vehicles and low-flying cruise missiles has grown to $1.53 billion after a contract modification was announced this week to make software corrections.

Northrop Grumman to correct software deficiencies in advanced radar for Global Hawk Block 40 UAV
Northrop Grumman to correct software deficiencies in advanced radar for Global Hawk Block 40 UAV
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass., 18 July 2014. The cost of a Northrop Grumman Corp. project to develop a next-generation airborne radar to track slow-moving ground vehicles and low-flying cruise missiles has grown to $1.53 billion after a contract modification was announced this week to make software corrections.

Officials of the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., awarded a $17.1 million contract modification Wednesday to the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems segment in Redondo Beach, Calif., for the Multi Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP).

The contract modification is for radar software deficiency corrections in MP-TRIP radar system development and demonstration alignment with the program schedule of the Global Hawk Block 40 long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, which also is being developed by Northrop Grumman Aerospace.

The Air Force's MP-RTIP program is developing a modular, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system scalable for different aircraft -- specifically for the Global Hawk and the Air Force Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS).

Related: Northrop Grumman and Raytheon to demonstrate MP-RTIP radar system on Global Hawk Block 40 UAV

The Raytheon Co. Space and Airborne Systems segment in El Segundo, Calif., is a primary subcontractor on the program MP-RTIP, and is in charge of the radar system's hardware development.

The MP-RTIP system is being created from previously developed Northrop-Grumman radar technology, including the Air Force's E-8 Joint STARS aircraft -- a Boeing 707 jetliner converted to a ground-surveillance role -- and the existing Global Hawk radar system.

For this contract, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon radar experts will demonstrate MP-RTIP aboard the latest model of the Global Hawk UAV to augment manned E-8 Joint STARS aircraft and other airborne surveillance systems.

Related: Northrop Grumman completes initial MP-RTIP Radar performance verification flights

The block 40 Global Hawk is larger than the original Global Hawk models, with a longer fuselage, larger payload capacity, larger electrical output, and longer wingspan.

The MP-RTIP radar that Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are developing will be able to track slow-moving ground vehicles and low-flying cruise missiles. Compared with existing ground-surveillance radar systems, the MP-RTIP will have enhanced resolution and will be able to collect ground moving target indicator imagery and synthetic aperture radar still images simultaneously.

Northrop Grumman and Raytheon started developing the MP-RTIP radar system in late 2000, and company experts have finished the system's basic design, development, testing and systems integration. During development and testing, Northrop Grumman experts mounted an MP-RTIP pod to the company's Proteus aircraft.

Related: Joint STARS surveillance radar systems to be demonstrated by Northrop Grumman

The Block 40 configuration of the RQ-4 Global Hawk first flew in late 2009. Northrop Grumman began integrating the MP-RTIP radar aboard the Global Hawk Block 40 in 2012.

Northrop Grumman and Raytheon will do the work on this contract in El Segundo, Calif., and should be finished by September 2015. For more information contact Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems online at www.northropgrumman.com, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems at www.raytheon.com, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.wpafb.af.mil/aflcmc.

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