NORTHROP GRUMMAN ILLUSTRATION
The Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance aircraft, designated the RQ-4N, is expected to achieve initial operating
capability in about seven years. It will be able to receive Automatic Identification System signals, allowing it to monitor
commercial shipping traffic.
supported by 15 contractors and a Navy maintenance
officer and maintenance chief from Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 5.
The contractor personnel at Patuxent and in the
deployed unit are from Northrop Grumman and its
program partners, Raytheon and L- 3 Communications,
a Northrop spokesman said.
The three Navy P- 3 pilots being prepared to be
Global Hawk operators were sent to the Persian Gulf to
do some actual launches and recoveries as part of their
training, Dishman said. They were expected to report
to Patuxent River in March.
The Central Command deployment is scheduled to
last six months, he said.
In a process completely separate from the GHMD
program, in April 2008 the Navy selected a modified
version of the more capable Block 20 Global Hawk for
the BAMS air vehicle, after a competition against several rivals including a proposed maritime version of
General Atomics’ combat-tested Predator UAV.
The $1.6 billion system design and development
(SDD) contract awarded to Northrop is for two UAVs
with mission payloads and communication suites, one
forward operating base mission-control system, one
systems integration laboratory and one main operating
base mission-control system.
The BAMS aircraft, designated the RQ-4N, is bigger
than the original Global Hawks, will have more electrical power and be able to carry 50 percent heavier sensor
payloads. It will have a Northrop 360-degree mechanically steered active electronically scanned array radar,
Raytheon electro-optic/infrared sensors and synthetic
aperture radar, an L- 3 communications suite and Sierra
Nevada Corp. Merlin electronic-support measures.
Dishman said the Navy Global Hawks also will have
an air-to-air radar to enable them to “sense and avoid”
other aircraft as a requirement to operate in U.S.-controlled air space.
Northrop already has delivered 24 Global Hawks of
several models and has five nearing delivery at its
Palmdale, Calif., plant, including the first EuroHawk
Dishman said he expects the SDD aircraft will begin
flight testing in fiscal 2012, the BAMS system to achieve
initial operational capability in 2016 and the full fleet of
68 BAMS systems to be fielded by 2019. ■