Raytheon Sees 2006 Test for Upgraded Hawk Sensors

March 9, 2005

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Raytheon Co. aims to flight-test upgraded sensor systems for the Global Hawk unmanned spy planes next year, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

The Global Hawk is built by Northrop Grumman Corp., but Raytheon supplies the sensor systems that allow the plane to transmit high-quality target and terrain data to U.S. troops.

It can also be used to spy on unfriendly countries by flying within the boundaries of an ally.

Raytheon has been awarded a 51-unit contract to supply the U.S. Air Force with systems for the Global Hawk that enhance airborne signals intelligence and radar capabilities.

Raytheon expects to deliver six more basic Global Hawk systems before beginning commercial production on the enhanced systems, which are now in the prototype stage, Steve Sheridan, director of reconnaissance and surveillance at Raytheon, told reporters at a company seminar.

“We expect to begin test flights in 2006,” he said.

The enhancements, which involve transmitter and materials improvements, will boost the range of the spy planes by 50 percent, although Raytheon declined to detail the current range.

Sheridan did say the technology expands the plane’s range for detecting a slow-moving ground target to 300 km from 200 km.