Northrop Grumman has delivered two payload upgrades for the RQ-4 Global Hawk long-endurance UAV.

The first is the deployment of the MS-177 multi-spectral camera, which provides improved high resolution imaging for users, says the company.

Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk MS-177

Source: Northrop Grumman

Global Hawk equipped with an MS-177 multi-spectral camera system, which provides high resolution imaging

“The MS-177 camera system provides multiple channels of intelligence collection in visible and infrared bands and provides a dramatic increase in multi-spectral imaging capacity,” says Northrop.

“When paired with a Global Hawk platform, the MS-177 provides collection coverage in areas that cannot easily be reached by other means.”

The MS-177 is produced by Collins Aerospace. Colins says the sensor can provide superior resolution over longer ranges than any other intelligence, surveillance and reconaissance (ISR) sensor in the US inventory. It is an evolution of the Senior Year Electro-optical Reconaissance System (SYERS) sensor used on the Lockheed U-2S spyplane.

The second upgrade involves the fielding of the ASQ-230 increment 1, which enhances the aircraft’s “support against electronic threats”.

“Ongoing improvements to Global Hawk underscore Northrop Grumman’s commitment to the United States Air Force’s ISR mission and reducing costs through agile development and leveraged solutions,” says Northrop Grumman vice-president Leslie Smith.

“New and improved payloads flying on our young, yet proven fleet of aircraft will allow our partners to deploy high value, networked assets to monitor adversaries while not risking the lives of military personnel well into the 2040s.”