Navy shelves plans to develop common UAV ground-control station for Global Hawk and BAMS

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 17 Feb. 2011. U.S. Navy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) experts are temporarily shelving plans to contract with the Northrop Grumman Corp. Aerospace Systems segment in Bethpage, N.Y., to develop common UAV ground-control stations to fly the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk and Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) high-altitude, high-endurance surveillance UAVs.

Feb 17th, 2011
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PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 17 Feb. 2011. U.S. Navy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) experts are temporarily shelving plans to contract with the Northrop Grumman Corp. Aerospace Systems segment in Bethpage, N.Y., to develop a common UAV ground-control station to fly the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk and Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) high-altitude, high-endurance surveillance UAVs.Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station announced their intent on 2 Feb. to award a contract to Northrop Grumman to develop common UAV ground control stations able to monitor and manipulate the BAMS and Global Hawk UAVs. BAMS and Global Hawk are based on the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 UAV airframe.Instead, however, naval officials cancelled those plans to give them time to rework requirements for the BAMS/Global Hawk ground-control station project, which would have been part of Northrop Grumman's BAMS system development and demonstration project.

The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV is a high-altitude, long-endurance surveillance unmanned aircraft that provides theater commanders with broad overview and target surveillance with high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can see through cloud cover and sandstorms, as well as electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) imagery at long range. It can survey as much as 40,000 square miles each day.

The Northrop Grumman RQ-4N BAMS, meanwhile, is a multi-mission maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) system designed to support strike, signals intelligence, and communications relay duties while operating independently or with other Navy aircraft, surface warships, or submarines.

Navy officials expect BAMS to fulfill part of the long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare mission that historically has been the role of the P-3 Orion four-engine turboprop aircraft. The UAV will complement the Navy's future Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime multi-mission aircraft (MMA).

Working together with the P-8 Poseidon, the BAMS UAV primarily would handle high-altitude surveillance, signals intelligence, and communications relay tasks, while the P-8 -- a specially designed version of the Boeing 737 passenger jetliner -- would handle low-altitude reconnaissance, attack, and anti-submarine warfare duties.

BAMS would operate at altitudes higher than 40,000 feet, above the weather and most air traffic, to conduct continuous open-ocean and littoral surveillance of targets as small as exposed submarine periscopes.

For questions or concerns about the Navy's delay in developing a common UAV ground-control station for BAMS and Global Hawk, contact the Navy's Charles Poston by phone at 301-757-5903, or by e-mail at charles.poston@navy.mil. Also contact the Navy's Kelly Chism by phone at 301-757-5896, or by e-mail at kelly.chism@navy.mil.

More information is online at https://www.fbodaily.com/archive/2011/02-February/12-Feb-2011/FBO-02378019.htm.

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