Global Hawk Block 30 Configuration Becoming Whole

The Air Force’s newest RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 remotely piloted aircraft recently completed its first production acceptance flight with the full sensor suite envisioned for this variant, including its electronic eavesdropping payload, prime contractor Northrop Grumman announced Thursday. Currently, Global Hawks in the Block 30 configuration—which are providing invaluable overhead imagery support to ground forces in Southwest Asia—carry the Raytheon-supplied Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite of electro-optical/infrared sensors and a synthetic aperture radar. Soon, they will be getting the eavesdropping package, the Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload, to complete their sensor loadout. That inclusion “will provide a persistent level of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance that has never before been provided by any aircraft,” said George Guerra, Northrop’s vice president of high-altitude long-endurance systems. Eventually all nine Global Hawk Block 30s currently forward deployed will rotate through Northrop’s facility in Palmdale, Calif., for the ASIP installation.