Global Hawk Tests U-2 High Rez Camera; Flight Costs Drop─「全球鷹」試掛U-2高解析相機  飛行成本大減



 The battle for ISR primacy continues between the venerable U-2 and the unmanned Global Hawk, but the Northrop Grumman drone took another step forward Oct. 6 in its quest to do what its manned competition does, and more.


 The aircraft flew with an Optical Bar Camera broad-area synoptic sensor, a tool that has been a key reason for Lockheed Martin‘s U-2's use by combatant commanders.


 "The successful flight of the Optical Bar Camera is another significant step in the evolution of Global Hawk. It's the result of our focus on increasing capability, reducing sustainment costs and fielding the Open Mission Systems architecture that enables faster integration of cutting edge sensors at lower costs," Mick Jaggers, vice president for Global Hawk, said in a statement.


 Northrop plans to fly the camera four more times to focus it and test the result, since it's a fixed-focus camera. By the middle of November, Jaggers says they will fly the camera with film. They want to see if they fly with it at 40,000 feet and 60,000 feet to see if they get higher resolution products without refocusing the camera.


 The camera's physical use by the Global Hawk was made possible by Northrop's Universal Payload Adapter built for the aircraft. But the flexible use of the system was made possible by the use of the Air Force's Open Mission Systems standard.


 The successful flight is the second of three planned demonstrations of sensors previously unavailable on the Global Hawk. Northrop Grumman successfully flew a SYERS-2 intelligence gathering sensor in February of this year and plans to fly the MS-177 multi-spectral sensor later in 2016.


 Jaggers said,"There will be other sensors tested on Global Hawk, including probably some from the space and intelligence communities, now we need to reach out to community and what do you need to carry."


 "I do tell my space brethren that I am a near space configured asset and I can carry those sensors."


 All this takes place in the shadow of U-2. The Global Hawk Block 30 got retired. But it had congressional friends. Then the U-2 was retired in the 2015 budget. Now the U-2’s "retirement" was put on hold 'til 2019 in the 2017 defense budget. In addition to the sensor battles between the two platforms, cost was a huge challenge for Global Hawk.


 Flying costs are down 50 percent since 2013 from $33,000 per hour to less than $15,000 per hour, Jaggers said.

 對此,賈格斯表示自從2013年以來,「全球鷹」每小時的飛行成本已從3.3萬美元(約新臺幣104.6萬元)降至目前的1.5萬美元(約新臺幣47.6萬元),降幅大約為50%。(摘譯自Breaking Defense網站)