Northrop Successfully Tests Optical Bar Camera on RQ-4

Northrop Grumman has successfully flown the Optical Bar Camera typically used on the U-2 on the RQ-4 Global Hawk, marking the first time the camera has been used on a high-altitude remotely piloted aircraft. Mick Jaggers, vice president and program manager of Northrop’s Global Hawk program, said the test is “the result of our focus on increasing capability, reducing sustainment costs, and fielding the open mission systems architecture that enables faster integration of cutting edge sensors at lower costs,” according to a Northrop release. The successful flight follows a successful demonstration of the Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS)-2 intelligence gathering sensor on the Global Hawk in February. Northrop plans to also fly an MS-177 multi-spectral sensor on the high-altitude multi-spectral sensor on the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platform later this year as part of its effort to demonstrate the RPA is capable of matching the Dragon Lady’s capabilities. The Air Force plans to retire the U-2 fleet by 2019. (See also: Reconnaissance Never Sleeps from the August 2016 issue of Air Force Magazine.)