Northrop Grumman Flies Open Mission Systems Architecture on Global Hawk UAS

By Mike Ball / 18 Jun 2015

NASA Global HawkNorthrop Grumman Corporation has announced that it has successfully flown a new Open Mission Systems (OMS) architecture on a NASA Global Hawk, demonstrating the ability to rapidly and affordably adapt new capabilities onto unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The new architecture implementation flight took place at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.

This flight confirmed the ability for ground operators to send OMS payload commands and receive OMS subsystem status responses over a Ku SATCOM Beyond-Line-Of-Sight (BLOS) communications link between the unmanned aircraft and an operations center.

A previously developed OMS Critical Abstraction Layer (CAL) was adapted to an OMS Open Computing Environment (OCE) onboard the NASA Global Hawk using a production RQ-4 Global Hawk airborne database computer.

The demonstration illustrates Northrop Grumman’s ability to rapidly deploy OMS on production Global Hawk platforms. The architecture paves the way for integration of new payload options for Global Hawk to support mission flexibility and customer needs. In addition to flying on the NASA Global Hawk UAS, the OMS architecture will be adapted and demonstrated in-flight on a manned airborne weapons system later this month.

NASA Global Hawks are preproduction variants of RQ-4 Global Hawks currently in service around the world. With the ability to fly as high as 60,000 feet for over 30 hours, Global Hawks provide a combination of high altitude and long endurance performance capabilities that allow the science community to study scientific and environmental phenomena in-depth. Global Hawk variants have flown more than 150,000 flight hours in support of antiterrorism, antipiracy, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, airborne communications relay and information-sharing missions.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact