MILITARY ELECTRONICS BRIEFING: Global Hawk & Triton & Future Next-Gen HALE EO/IR & Radars

Program Briefing

Raytheon developed the 400 kg Global Hawk Integrated Sensor Suite (ISS), which combines the HISAR synthetic aperture radar (SAR) with MTI (moving target indication), along with electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) sensors. The Enhanced ISS (EISS) is an upgraded sensor suite developed for the larger RQ-4B Global Hawk, reportedly with a 50% greater range than the Basic ISS, for both EO/IR and SAR. EO/IR improvements include an improved telescope with better optics and real-time focus control. The SAR has an increase in transmitted power and a larger antenna. EISS production continues for the final Block 30 Global Hawks. In this report, we also look at sensors for future Global Hawks, such as for the US Navy’s MQ-4C Triton and for future Next-Generation HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) UAVs. In February 2012, the FY13 budget cancelled future USAF Block 30 Global Hawk production after the 18 air vehicles already contracted, and the Air Force planned to retire (mothball) the entire Block 30 Global Hawk fleet once production was complete. But in March 2014, the FY15 budget restored Global Hawk funding, choosing instead to quickly retire the much more capable manned U-2 fleet. Many Air Force commanders criticized this decision, realizing they would lose the greater (and then cheaper) ISR capability. The decision was essentially a political one by the Air Force command.

Full report: