PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md., 4 Feb. 2011. U.S. Navy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) experts are asking engineers at the Northrop Grumman Corp. Aerospace Systems segment in Bethpage, N.Y., to develop common UAV ground control stations to fly the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk and Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) high-altitude, high-endurance surveillance UAVs. BAMS and Global Hawk are based on the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 UAV airframe.Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station announced their intent Wednesday to award a contract to Northrop Grumman to develop common UAV ground control stations able to monitor and manipulate the BAMS and Global Hawk UAVs. The contract will be part of Northrop Grumman's BAMS system development and demonstration project. The amount of the contract has not yet been negotiated.Northrop Grumman is sole designer and integrator for the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk, and is the only contractor with the personnel, technical data, facilities, and equipment necessary to build a BAMS-Global Hawk common UAV ground control station on time and on budget, Navy officials say.This project follows a trend where U.S. military officials are trying to consolidate UAV ground-control technology by developing common UAV ground control stations the are able to handle several different kinds of unmanned aircraft.The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV is a high-altitude, long-endurance surveillance unmanned aircraft that provides theater commanders with broad overview and target surveillance with high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can see through cloud cover and sandstorms, as well as electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) imagery at long range. It can survey as much as 40,000 square miles each day.
The Northrop Grumman RQ-4N BAMS, meanwhile, is a multi-mission maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) system designed to support strike, signals intelligence, and communications relay duties while operating independently or with other Navy aircraft, surface warships, or submarines.
Navy officials expect BAMS to fulfill part of the long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare mission that historically has been the role of the P-3 Orion four-engine turboprop aircraft. The UAV will complement the Navy's future Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime multi-mission aircraft (MMA).
Working together with the P-8 Poseidon, the BAMS UAV primarily would handle high-altitude surveillance, signals intelligence, and communications relay tasks, while the P-8 -- a specially designed version of the Boeing 737 passenger jetliner -- would handle low-altitude reconnaissance, attack, and anti-submarine warfare duties.
BAMS would operate at altitudes higher than 40,000 feet, above the weather and most air traffic, to conduct continuous open-ocean and littoral surveillance of targets as small as exposed submarine periscopes.
For questions or concerns about the Navy's impending contract to Northrop Grumman to develop a common UAV ground control station for BAMS and Global Hawk, contact the Navy's Charles Poston by phone at 301-757-5955, or by e-mail at email@example.com. Also contact the Navy's Kelly Chism by phone at 301-757-5896, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DON/NAVAIR/N00421/N00019-11-R-0042/listing.html.