Northrop Grumman has begun flight testing an active-array surveillance radar for its RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicle.

Developed by Northrop and Raytheon under the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Programme (MP-RTIP), the sensor is being flight tested in the Scaled Composites Proteus high-altitude testbed. On its initial 2h flight of a year-long test programme, the system was operated in its moving-target indicator and synthetic-aperture radar modes.

The MP-RTIP radar will be installed in the Block 30 variant of the US Air Force’s Global Hawk UAV, but a larger wide-area surveillance (WAS) version could be cancelled.

The first WAS radar is scheduled to fly aboard a modified Boeing 767 in 2010, but the USAF’s Northrop E-10 Multi-Sensor Command and Control Aircraft programme has been reduced to a technology demonstration and may be terminated, along with plans to upgrade the service’s Northrop E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft with the sensor.

 Northrop Grumman RQ-4
© Northrop Grumman
 Scaled Composites' Proteus is being used to test the active array radar

Source: Flight International