Global Hawk UAS

Northrop Grumman has subcontracted General Dynamics (GD) Canada to deliver key communications network technology for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme.

Valued at C$32m ($32.40m), the order forms part of a $1.7bn transatlantic multinational contract awarded by the Nato Alliance Ground Surveillance Management Agency (NAGSMA) to Northrop-led team for work on the AGS programme in May 2012.

Under the contract, Northrop will provide software that will control the AGS communications ground control system (CGCS), supply ruggedised computer workstations and the voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) intercom systems, to enable communication between operators at the operating base and with mobile command centres.

The CGCS is responsible for management of radio and satellite communications between RQ-4A Global Hawk unmanned aerial system (UAS) and the main operating base in Sigonella, Italy.

"Northrop will provide software to enable communication between operators at the operating base and with mobile command centres."

The company will also provide engineering support for installation of its software and systems at Northrop’s facilities in the US, and at the main operating base in Italy.

General Dynamics Canada general manager David Ibbetson said the contract demonstrated the capabilities of the advanced communication solutions developed by the company using innovation in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems.

Nato’s AGS is a 15-nation programme focused at providing ground, maritime and air commanders with persistent ISR data using five RQ-4 Global Hawk UAS, mobile ground command and control vehicles, as well as related command and control base stations to support military and humanitarian missions.

Work under the AGS programme is scheduled to be performed over the next three years, with initial operation scheduled for November 2016, whereas GD Canada will continue delivery of in-service support beyond 2016.

Image: A Global Hawk UAS taxis onto the main runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California, US. Photo: file image.