Thinking Globally

Northrop Grumman is mulling how it can work best with the Air Force and Navy to maximize synergies and avoid duplication of effort in the services’ respective Global Hawk and broad area maritime surveillance programs, says Ed Walby, a company business development executive. Both Global Hawk and BAMS are based on Northrop’s RQ-4 unmanned aerial vehicle. Briefing reporters Thursday at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Walby said, for example, the services may be able to find commonality in communications architectures. And, the Navy’s plan to have a BAMS ground segment based on an open architecture may make it easier and less expensive for the Air Force to incorporate such attributes into its own ground element, he said. Another example is leading-edge deicing capability for the wings. Walby said the Navy’s flight profile for flying BAMS—at least initially—calls for the aircraft to descend from its normal cruising altitudes above the clouds to down below them to obtain positive identification of targets. This will necessitate “slightly different requirements for their wings,” such as the leading-edge de-icing, he said. The Air Force could quickly adopt these changes in its Global Hawks, if it so chooses, he said, even though USAF currently has no requirement for leading-edge de-icing.