Northrop Fights For Global Hawk As Triton Flights Start

By Guy Norris, Amy Butler
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

Vice says Northrop will integrate the Syers-2B version on the Global Hawk for 6% of the Air Force's estimated cost of an $855 million bill to upgrade the Raytheon sensor to specifications. An Air Force report cites the cost of integrating Syers-2B and OBC onto Global Hawk as $487 million.

The Air Force report, however, calls for pulling these cameras from U-2s for integration, which is unlikely to sit well with commanders who use them daily. And, the belly-mounted SAR has to be removed from Global Hawk to accommodate the U-2 sensors.

The Air Force said the proposal is “too little, too late” as the service has struggled to contain Global Hawk cost for years, owing to shifts in requirements, deployment plans and developmental challenges.

Navy officials assert that they are proceeding well with the Triton effort, which intends to follow a methodical process. In a fervor to support the war efforts, USAF developed a complex upgrade plan that ultimately delivered a capability that has not been accepted by combatant commanders.

“One of the advantages we've had is being able to follow the Air Force in the Global Hawk program and take on many lessons learned from the challenges they faced,” Hoke says.

*USAF is requesting early Global Hawk termination from Congress. Total inventory TBD.
Global Hawk Family
MQ-4C Triton
Total program cost: $13 billion
Planned inventory: 70
Unit cost (including development): $189 million
Powerplant: Rolls-Royce AE3007H
Wingspan: 130.9 ft.
Length: 47.6 ft.
Height: 15.4 ft.
GTOW: 32,250 lb.
Max. Internal Payload: 3,200 lb.
Max. External Payload: 2,400 lb.
Average Cruising Altitude: 56,500 ft.
Average Cruising Velocity: 331 kt.
Endurance: 24 hr.
RQ-4B Global Hawk(Blocks 30 and 40)
Total program cost: $10 billion
Planned inventory: 45*
Unit cost (including development): $222.7 million
Powerplant: Rolls-Royce AE3007H
Wingspan: 130.9 ft.
Length: 47.6 ft.
Height: 15.4 ft.
GTOW: 32,250 lb.
Max. Internal Payload: 3,000 lb.
Max. External Payload: not used by USAF
Average Cruising Altitude: 55,000 ft.
Average Cruising Velocity: 310 kt
Endurance: 30 hr.
Sources: Northrop Grumman, Government Accountability Office and USAF

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