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Northrop Grumman offers MQ-4C Global Hawk to Indian Navy

Northrop Grumman has responded to Indian’s Navy tender for HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) UAV. The tender was announced on 20th October 2010 which mentions neither the number of units to be purchase nor the value of the tender (Tender Ref. No: AH/8051/HALE). It is also not clear as yet which other manufacturer has responded to the tender but India navy has shown a keen interest in the MQ-4C. The product is also cleared by the US government for sale to India.

According to Northrop Grumman, “Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aircraft System (BAMS UAS) is the next generation of the Defense Department’s high altitude, long endurance UAS. The Navy MQ-4C is designed to provide the Navy with persistent maritime surveillance and reconnaissance coverage of wide oceanographic and littoral areas. The Navy MQ-4C is designed after the RQ-4 family of air vehicles, which are in production and combat proven, providing a cost-effective system with the greatest capability at the lowest risk.

Features of MQ-4C includes ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) over a 2000 nautical miles radius, dual redundant flight controls and surfaces, open architecture mission control system for customization and a 51000 hours airframe life. It is equipped with multifunction 2D AESA radar with maritime and air to ground modes. MTS-B multi-spectral targeting system with electro-optical and infrared sights. AN/ZLQ-1 Electronic Support Measures (ESM) with Speci?c Emitter Identification (SEI) and Automatic Identi?cation System (AIS) which Provides information received from VHF broadcasts on maritime vessel movements. It has max altitude of 56500 ft, max speed of 330 knots and max endurance of 28 hours.

India Navy wants the MQ-4C to play a complementary role to the Boeing P-8I, 12 of which are already on order. To bolster maritime aerial surveillance capability of India, the Navy is considering 6 Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft and other medium endurance UAV’s.

In role and operational design, the Global Hawk is similar to the Lockheed U-2, the venerable 1950s spy plane. It is a theater commander’s asset to provide a broad overview and systematic target surveillance. For this purpose, the Global Hawk is able to provide high resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)—that can penetrate cloud-cover and sandstorms— and Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) imagery at long range with long loiter times over target areas. It can survey as much as 40,000 square miles (103,600 square kilometers) of terrain a day.

Missions for the Global Hawk cover the spectrum of intelligence collection capability to support forces in worldwide peace, crisis, and wartime operations. According to the Air Force, the capabilities of the aircraft allow more precise targeting of weapons and better protection of forces through superior surveillance capabilities.

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About Pratik Sawerdekar