SYERS-2 Integrated on Global Hawk Ahead of First Flight Test
Defense and aerospace industry giant Northrup Grumman has recently announced that it will begin testing on its senior year electro-optical reconnaissance system (SYERS-2) on air craft provided by the USAF. Over the course of the next month, Northrup will conduct a series of test flights at their Palmdale location to determine if any adjustments need to be made. By early 2017 Northrup hopes to fully integrate the SYERS-2 system into their existing MS177 mulitspectral sensor program. Once integrated, the MS177 will likely be utilized on Northrup’s next generation Global Hawk surveillance planes.
“The real goal is about risk reduction in line with the MS177 timeline,” Mike Tarlton, director of Global Hawk at Northrop, tells Flightglobal.
The SYERS-2 system itself is based off of nearly 60 years of research, and is essentially an advanced imagery sensor capable of utilizing up to seven separate spectral bands to create unparalleled reach. The system also contains also both short and mid wave Infrared sensors, which are ideal for low visibility situations such as fog and smoke.
For years the SYERS-2 system has been flown almost exclusively within the manned Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady aircraft, which happens to be the very plane that the Global Hawk will one day replace. The new Global Hawk will essentially be an updated unmanned version of the U-2, and Northrup must now figure out how to migrate their SYERS-2 system into the new aircraft.
Other countries besides the US have also shown interest in the Global Hawk, and the US State department has all but officially announced that they will allow for the sale of three Global Hawks to foreign militaries. This single deal has the potential to break $1 billion, with an estimated delivery between late 2018 and early 2019.
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