Maritime Radar Modes Tested on Global Hawk

The Air Force completed the first test flight of maritime surveillance modes on the radar of the RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 40 remotely piloted aircraft, announced service officials on Monday. “We’re very pleased with the initial results of the test flight,” said Lt. Col. Michael Harm, materiel leader for the Maritime Modes risk-reduction initiative, in the service’s April 28 release. The half-day test flight took place on April 14 at the Navy’s Point Mugu sea range off the southern California coast. The Global Hawk Block 40 variant carries the sophisticated ground-surveillance radar known as MP-RTIP that a Northrop Grumman-Raytheon team supplies. The maritime modes will enable the radar also to track vessels traveling on water and generate high-resolution imagery of them. “This capability will augment the MP-RTIP’s existing ground surveillance and provide the warfighter with a complete ground, coastal, and open seas picture,” said Frank Hertler, Maritime Modes program manager. The Air Force is pursuing capabilities like this as it embraces the Pentagon’s AirSea Battle concept that calls for integrating air and sea forces more closely to overcome anti-access and area-denial threats. (Hanscom report by Justin Oakes)