Northrop Grumman completes first flight of Global Hawk ground station modernization program

Northrop Grumman successfully completed the first flight for the Global Hawk Ground Station Modernization Program at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. earlier this month.

Leveraging agile development and an open architecture design, the GSMP team transformed both the human-machine interface and the underlying software, paving the way for interoperability with other Air Force systems, enhanced responsiveness to ad hoc tasking, and lower impact updates in the future.

The modernized Global Hawk ground stations will revolutionize the operator experience 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 pilots and sensor operators.

“I am very excited about the new capability the Ground Segment Modernization Program will deliver to the Warfighter.” said Col. William Collins, Global Hawk System Program Director, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. “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.”

“Global Hawk is a critical asset that delivers vital data to U.S. forces and allies 24/7/365,” said Leslie Smith, vice president Global Hawk, Northrop Grumman. “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.”

Northrop Grumman’s family of autonomous HALE systems, including Global Hawk, are a critical component of networked, global ISR collection. Today, Global Hawk operates on the edge of the battlespace, collecting ISR data that enables decision makers to act with the right information at the right time. In the future, Global Hawk is uniquely positioned for additional missions that connect the joint force, including persistent high capacity backbone, pseudo-satellite communications coverage, and joint all-domain command and control.

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