Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles will not be alone in the high-altitude skies of the future as the Navy has just announced its choice of a Global Hawk variant to serve as its broad area maritime surveillance platform. Under the terms of the $1.16 billion systems development and demonstration contract announced April 22, Northrop Grumman will supply the sea service with a fleet of RQ-4N Global Hawk aircraft that will provide persistent maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data collection and dissemination capability. Northrop Grumman beat General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, which offered a maritime version of its MQ-1 Predator UAV, and Boeing, which bid an unmanned Gulfstream G550 aircraft. The BAMS victory is another big win for Northrop, which is fresh off of its upset of Boeing in the Air Force’s KC-X tanker contest. The BAMS Global Hawk will be an adjunct to the Navy’s P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft.
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.