Getting Airborne

Northrop Grumman has gotten the green light from the Air Force to begin flight tests of the MP-RTIP advanced electronically scanned array radar system that it is building, together with Raytheon, for the RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle. This portion of the radar’s flight test program is scheduled to take place over the next several weeks aboard Northrop’s Proteus aircraft, which is acting as a Global Hawk surrogate for the tests, the company said in a Feb. 2 release. These flights are meant to verify that the radar meets its operational requirements, said Duke Dufresne, vice president and general manager of Northrop’s strike and surveillance systems. Global Hawk Block 40 air vehicles will carry the MP-RTIP system. Northrop said the first Block 40 aircraft is undergoing testing in preparation for its first flight later this year.