Order for 10 Global Hawk UAVs Includes 5 for SIGINT Role
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in San Diego, CA received $60.2 million fixed price incentive contract to provide for ten RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft and other Low Rate Initial Production Lot 5 items: Five Airborne Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Processor enabled RQ-4 Global Hawk Production Air Vehicles; Four Air Vehicles equipped with Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suites (E-ISS); One Air Vehicle w/o E-ISS; one Mission Control Element; and one Launch Recovery Element. Solicitation began in April 2005, and work on this contract will be complete by May 2006. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8620-05-C-4692).
Most Global Hawk UAVs are configured with SAR radars for finding ground targets, plus electro-optical and infrared sensors (see examples of Global Hawk imagery). E-ISS is said to improve the range of both SAR and infrared system by 50%. Airforce-Technology.com also notes that in November 2003, Global Hawk completed a series of flight tests in the USA and Germany carrying an EADS electronic intelligence (ELINT) payload. The “EuroHawk” is being offered to the German Air Force as a replacement signals intelligence (SIGINT) platform, and the idea appears to be catching on in the USA as well. See all DID Global Hawk coverage.