RQ-4 Global Hawk
Raytheon’s common ground control system (CGCS) is being cast as an economical solution for controlling unmanned aircraft systems from different manufacturers. This is after it started life several years ago as a tactical control system (TCS) for the U.S. Navy.
Stratospheric UAVs–mostly airships–that stay airborne flying for months or years will form a new communications and sensing infrastructure, according to the Market Intel Group (www.marketintelgroup.com). Government contracts are funding development of such UAVs at present, but commercial markets will eventually dwarf defense requirements.
Honeywell Aerospace said its unmanned T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicle has flown several missions in support of disaster-remediation efforts at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan.
Do UAVs threaten civil pilot careers? That’s the question that AIN posed to several attendees at a recent conference in Montreal, sponsored by industry trade group Unmanned Systems Canada. The answer: it seems unlikely, other than for young pilots just setting out on their careers, or a small number of pilots flying specialized applications.
An improved version of the Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk mini-UAV is now operating with the British Army in Afghanistan. The hand-launched system has an improved video sensor and a larger wing. The UK is the only announced customer for the Desert Hawk.
Responding to public complaints from Pentagon officials about the cost and progress of the Global Hawk program, Northrop Grumman has provided a robust defense.
Fifteen years after the concept was first mooted, NATO may finally acquire an alliance ground surveillance system (AGS). Northrop Grumman last month submitted a firm baseline proposal plus options on behalf of a transatlantic consortium that also includes EADS, Selex Galileo and a variety of smaller European companies.
The first Euro Hawk UAV for the German Air Force (GAF) was unveiled last month at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, Calif. facility. It was apparent that the wing pods that house the SIGINT sensors, provided by EADS Defence and Security, have again grown in size, since AIN provided a description of this program at the Paris Air Show last June.
Versions of the Global Hawk are proliferating, with five now in service or development for the U.S., as well as the Euro Hawk for Germany and another for the NATO-AGS (air/ground surveillance) requirement.