Northrop makes supersonic drone surveillance possible

General Atomics MQ-20

Northrop Grumman turns Global Hawk drones into hypersonic test observers, revolutionizing surveillance with advanced technology by 2025.

Hypersonic speed, exceeding five times the speed of sound, marks a revolution in aeronautics and defense. Industry giant Northrop Grumman is currently modifying its RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs to monitor these state-of-the-art systems. These modifications transform the drones into Range Hawks, capable of collecting essential data during hypersonic system tests.

Global Hawk drones at the heart of hypersonic testing

Global Hawks, retired from the US Air Force, have been given a new lease of life by Northrop Grumman. Modified into Range Hawks, they play a key role in data collection during hypersonic vehicle tests. Adapted for high-tech surveillance, these drones are now equipped to track the speed and trajectory of hypersonic systems, offering a flexible alternative to traditional methods based on marine sensors.

Technological advances and sensor integration

The advanced miniaturization of detection equipment means that it can now be integrated into drones, a major advance on traditional methods. Range Hawks benefit from this innovation, carrying sensors capable of accurately measuring the key parameters of hypersonic tests. This advance represents a giant step forward in the field of surveillance, offering unrivalled flexibility and responsiveness for monitoring hypersonic tests.

General Atomics MQ-20

Strategic impact and future of Range Hawks

The adaptation of RQ-4s into Range Hawks underlines the strategic importance of hypersonic surveillance. These modified UAVs enable near-continuous testing, essential for the rapid development of hypersonic technologies. Their deployment reflects the priority given to superiority in the hypersonic domain, crucial to national security and technological advancement.

Towards a new era of hypersonic surveillance

Northrop Grumman’s conversion of RQ-4 Global Hawks into Range Hawks opens a new page in the history of hypersonic surveillance. These drones, at the heart of efforts to develop hypersonic systems, symbolize the innovation and adaptability essential to meeting the challenges of modern defense. With these advances, the field of hypersonic speed is poised to cross a revolutionary threshold, promising unprecedented capabilities and enhancing security on a global scale.

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