Stand-Up Of New Global Hawk Engine Facility Reaches Halfway Point

Could repair Triton engines

Rolls-Royce has almost completed the physical construction of a new, organic RQ-4B Global Hawk engine maintenance and overhaul facility for the Air Force at Tinker Air Force Base’s Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, and soon plant equipment will be moving to the factory floor to have the facility operational by the end of calendar year 2015, as planned.

The company currently services the high-flying spy aircraft’s AE 3007H power plant at a facility in Canada but as the Global Hawk program moves from development and production to sustainment, the Air Force has a Title 10 requirement to maintain the capability organically.

During an Oct. 16 interview with Inside the Air Force, Rolls-Royce executives said construction work is about 90-percent complete and over the next six months or so machines and equipment will begin moving in.

“The construction is just about done. It’s then about moving equipment in and standing up all the systems and getting it running,” said Tom Hartmann, Rolls-Royce’s senior vice president of customer business. “I would expect a grand opening probably after October of next year.”

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ASIP Block 30M RQ-4B Global Hawk glamour shoot at Edwards Hangar

Decision On Sensor Key To Universal Payload Adapter Solution

For SYERS, OBC sensor transfer

Air Combat Command appears ready to support Northrop Grumman’s universal payload adapter solution for transferring national security sensors from the U-2 to the RQ-4B Global Hawk once it is determined which sensors would be most appropriate to carry on the high-altitude unmanned surveillance aircraft.

Northrop believes its internally-developed adapter, which involves airframe and software changes, would allow the Global Hawk to carry the Optical Bar Camera (OBC) and Senior Year Electro-optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS) sensors currently supported by the U-2 spy plane — an aircraft the Pentagon has targeted for retirement to cut costs.

The company last year offered to reconfigure six Global Hawks for $48 million, but the Air Force declined the offer citing a lack of “sufficient technical information.” More recently the company offered to demonstrate the universal payload adapter design using its own funds, however, that would require the Air Force to provide Northrop with one Global Hawk and SYERS sensor.

During an Oct. 10 interview with Inside the Air Force, the head of ACC’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance weapon systems division confirmed the command’s continued interest in the universal payload adapter (UPA) and said the service is working closely with Northrop on a final solution.

“We’re trying to identify the sensors that would be most appropriate to put on the UPA right now,” Col. James Merchant said. “We’re right in the middle of it.”

Inside the Air Force – 10/10/2014, Vol. 25, No. 41  


SDB II Milestone C One Step Closer After September Live-Fire Test

Second flight test pushed to Oct. 14

Raytheon said this week that it is confident in the Small Diameter Bomb Increment II program’s ability to move from the engineering and manufacturing development phase to low-rate production after successfully completing a live-fire test last week.

According to company officials, the test occurred at White Sands Missile Range, NM, and the SDB II weapon successfully destroyed a target using normal attack mode.

John O’Brien, Raytheon’s SDB II program manager, described the test as a “complete success” and said the strike produced the intended effects. O’Brien spoke to Inside the Air Force following the Sept. 24 test and he was joined by the company’s head of SDB II business development, Jeff White.

O’Brien said the test completes one of the two remaining “graduation events” before the Air Force can make a milestone C decision and move the program from development to production.

“It operated nominally, as planned, and was a direct impact on the target,” O’Brien said. “The program was designed to do the most difficult and challenging tasks first. A normal attack mission, and there’s really nothing normal about it, includes two of the three modes of our tri-mode seeker that blends a solution set for the weapon to recognize, track and impact a target. That’s foreseen to be the newest and most challenging effort.”

Weapons testers had scheduled two SDB II live-fire tests for last week, but a logistical issue caused the first test to be pushed from Sept 22 to Sept. 24, and the second test has been rescheduled for Oct. 14 due to range availability. If the second test this month is deemed successful, the team will have completed the required testing program and can move ahead with the system verification review (SVR) — the primary set of documents the government will consider before making the milestone C decision.

Inside the Air Force – 10/03/2014, Vol. 25, No. 40