Northrop Grumman Corporation has successfully completed the first flight with its Global Hawk UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) using the new modernised ground control station. The Global Hawk Ground Station Modernization Program (GSMP) has made major overhauls to both the human-machine interface and the underlying software, allowing interoperability with other Air Force systems and providing enhanced responsiveness to ad hoc tasking.
The upgraded Global Hawk ground stations will provide operators with new cockpit displays, the ability to fly all Global Hawk variants without software or configuration changes, simpler maintenance interfaces, and improved situational awareness and environmental conditions for both pilots and sensor operators.
Northrop Grumman’s family of autonomous HALE (high-altitude, long-endurance) UAVs, including Global Hawk, are a critical component of networked, global ISR collection. Future applications for the platforms include persistent high-capacity backbone, pseudo-satellite communications coverage, and joint all-domain command and control.
Colonel William Collins, Global Hawk System Program Director at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, commented: “I am very excited about the new capability the Ground Segment Modernization Program will deliver to the Warfighter.” said . “Not only will it allow the operators to conduct their missions from an enhanced, building-based control element, it will deliver critical Diminished Manufacturing Sources solutions and system security enhancements that will ensure this vital capability continues to be secure from cyber threats.”
Leslie Smith, vice president of the Global Hawk division at Northrop Grumman, said: “Global Hawk is a critical asset that delivers vital data to U.S. forces and allies 24/7/365. New, modern ground stations for Global Hawk will significantly improve the system and allow operators to more efficiently deliver timely ISR data to warfighters and connect the joint force through its global communications node mission.”