Northrop Grumman has installed a virtual instance of a common imagery processor in the company’s Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota.
The company said Thursday the U.S. Air Force issued a requirement for Global Hawk sensor operators to process and display real-time visual data that is relayed to mission control elements at the Grand Forks base.
Common image processors contain image quality checker that occupies 3.5 inches of rack space and works to process dual simultaneous data streams and image output for up to 10 locations.
According to Northrop, company and Grand Forks representatives discussed the requirement in April 2013 prior to carrying out training ahead of deployment.
A phase one test flight took place in May 2013 to display collected imagery in real-time, followed by an October 2013 phase two test of the Global Hawk Block 40 variant’s synthetic aperture radar.