Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Air Force Fielding New Sensors to High-Altitude Drone – Defensetech

Air Force Fielding New Sensors to High-Altitude Drone – Defensetech: Even as it begins developing the future B-21 stealth bomber for the U.S. Air Force, Northrop Grumman Corp. is busy outfitting new sensors to the RQ-4 high-altitude drone to meet the service’s rising demand for surveillance missions.

The Falls Church, Virginia-based company already this year flew a new sensor onboard the Global Hawk — and plans to test and field two more technologies in coming months, according to Mick Jaggers, vice president and program manager for Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system programs.

Through a cooperative research and development agreement with the Air Force, Northrop flew a Global Hawk with the latest Senior Year Electro-optical Reconnaissance System sensor, or the SYERS-2, made by UTC Aerospace Systems, Jaggers recently told

The sensor is also fitted on the U-2 Dragon Lady spy plane and provides multi-spectral imaging of targets to extreme ranges; the active-duty Global Hawk has since been returned to the Air Force “since that demo was successful,” Jaggers said.

Next up are two other systems called the Optical Bar Camera, or OBC, and the MS-177 Multi-Spectral Sensor System, he said.