Northrop Completes Initial MP-RTIP Testing

Northrop Grumman announced May 28 that it had verified system performance for the advanced radar capability under the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program intended for operational deployment on new Block 40 RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles. Duke Dufresne, Northrop vice president and general manager for strike and surveillance systems, called it a “major milestone for the MP-RTIP program,” and said that the company is “ready to deliver the first Global Hawk [Block 40] airframe for flight test and quickly follow-up with sensor integration for operational test and evaluation.” The testing verified performance of the Ground Moving Target Indicator and Synthetic Aperture Radar nodes, which Col. Jim Shaw, commander of the 851st Electronic Systems Group at Hanscom AFB, Mass., said provides “a capability that the warfighter needs in the overseas theater today.” He added, “The sensor performed very well on SAR and clearly exceeded warfighter requirements in the GMTI modes.” Northrop conducted the testing on the Scaled Composites Proteus test platform aircraft, completing a total of 186 flights, 64 of which formed the core of the Radar System Level Performance Verification program series of tests. Northrop has completed assembly of the first production Block 40 aircraft, which USAF expects to use as a testbed for MP-RTIP integration. (Hanscom report by Monica Morales)