The Electronic Systems Center's Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program, or MP-RTIP, sensor recently had its first flight on Global Hawk Block 40.
"This event marks a major milestone for the program after nearly 10 years of planning, development and initial testing," said Lt. Col. Michael Harm, ESC MP-RTIP program manager. "However, we still have a lot of work ahead of us."
The MP-RTIP is an active electronically scanned array radar that increases situational awareness for the warfighter with improved radar imagery.
On July 21, 2011, at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., the sensor flew on a Global Hawk Block 40 for the first time.
"This flight demonstrated an initial functionality of MP-RTIP on Global Hawk," said Capt. Kevin Hoy, MP-RTIP test management lead. "The team still needs to verify that the radar is performing as expected."
A second flight was executed on July 28. Although the main purpose of both flights was to make certain the air vehicle's electrical system was operational, the radar was powered on and collected imagery throughout the flights.
To reduce program risk and cut costs, previous flight evaluations had been performed on a surrogate manned test platform called "Proteus," which mimics the flight characterizations of a Global Hawk. More than 150,000 radar scans were completed on Proteus before the integration of the radar onto Global Hawk.
"Although we are still working with our contractor to make improvements to the sensor software, the new flights are ensuring that what we saw with the MP-RTIP on Proteus will be the same for the Global Hawk Block 40," said Captain Hoy.
The testing is being conducted by a combined team of the Joint STARS Test Force from Melbourne, Fla., and the 452nd Flight Test Squadron from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
The test team plans to fully verify the radar's performance by early 2012 and development testing of the Global Hawk Block 40 is planned to continue until the end of 2013.
"I'm proud of our combined government and industry team's efforts to achieve this important milestone, which brings us one step closer to providing this complementary surveillance capability to our warfighter," said Col. David Hiltz, Aerial Ground Surveillance Systems Division chief.
Other areas where the MP-RTIP could be used are also being addressed.
"Our team is continuing to make improvements to the system's software," said Captain Hoy. "The MP-RTIP provides the warfighter with the next generation radar and we want to ensure we maximize all its abilities."
Following successful testing on Global Hawk Block 40, fielding of MP-RTIP is planned for 2014.
by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs
Related Research on ASDReports.com: