Stephen Trimble / Washington DC

Northrop Grumman is planning to push the RQ-4A Global Hawk into several untapped markets in 2004, namely urban operations, border security and weather monitoring. In addition, flight tests using a BAE Systems hyperband communications intelligence (COMINT) sensor are now complete.

Global Hawk air vehicles 3 and 1 are scheduled for several high-profile demonstration tests in 2004, the latter having been recently assigned to test an EADS electronic intelligence sensor developed for the EuroHawk proposal in Germany.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems vice-president David Stafford says the Global Hawk programme is teaming with the US Department of Defense to begin developing tactics for employing the vehicle in urban operations.

In early 2004, air vehicle 3 is scheduled to undergo flight tests in Alaska as a homeland security platform, performing drug interdiction and border security surveillance roles.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which owns the National Weather Service, will test the Global Hawk's ability to predict weather patterns in a demonstration scheduled for late 2004.

Canada, meanwhile, is expected to stage a Global Hawk demonstration that was delayed by the 11 September terrorist attacks.

Source: Flight International