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RQ-4 / MQ-4 Unmanned Aircraft System


The RQ-4 Global Hawk and the MQ-4C Triton are high-altitude, unmanned aircraft. Their mission is to provide intelligence using their sophisticated sensor package. The Global Hawk is operated by the U.S. Air Force, while the Triton is fielded by the U.S. Navy.

Contractors

Manufactured by: Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
Primary contractor: Raytheon
Primary contractor: L3 Communications - New York, New York, USA

RQ-4 Global Hawk

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft with an integrated sensor suite that provides global all-weather, day or night intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability. Global Hawk's mission is to provide a broad spectrum of ISR collection capability to support joint combatant forces in worldwide peacetime, contingency and wartime operations. The Global Hawk provides persistent near-real-time coverage using imagery intelligence (IMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT) and moving target indicator (MTI) sensors.
RQ-4 Global Hawk Copyright © U.S. Air Force

Status

In active service

Block versions

  • Block 10: Seven Block 10 aircraft were procured, but were retired from the Air Force inventory in 2011.
  • Block 20: these versions were initially fielded with IMINT-only capabilities, but three Block 20s have been converted to an EQ-4 communication relay configuration, carrying the Battlefield Airborne Communication Node (BACN) payload.
  • Block 30: this version is a multi-intelligence platform that simultaneously carries electro-optical, infrared, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and high and low band SIGINT sensors. Currently fielded Block 30 aircraft support every geographic combatant command as well as combat missions.
  • Block 40: it carries the Radar Technology Insertion Program (RTIP) active electronically scanned array radar which provides MTI and SAR data.

Crew

1 Launch and Recovery Element (LRE) Pilot (Remote)
1 Mission Control Element (MCE) Pilot (Remote)
1 Sensor Operator (Remote)

Characteristics

Dimensions
Length: 14.51 meters 47.6 feet
Wingspan: 39.9 meters 130.9 feet
Height: 4.66 meters 15.3 feet
Weight
Weight: ~6 780 kilograms 14 950 pounds
Maximum takeoff weight: ~14 628 kilograms 32 250 pounds
Features
Power plant: one Rolls Royce-North American F137-RR-100 turbofan engine
Thrust: ~3 447 kilograms 7 600 pounds
Fuel capacity: ~7 847 kilograms 17 300 pounds
Speed: 310 knots » ~574 kilometers per hour ~356 miles per hour
Ceiling: 18 288 meters 60 000 feet
Range: 12 300 nautical miles » ~22 780 kilometers ~14 155 miles
Endurance: 34+ hours

MQ-4C Triton

The MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions. Based on the Global Hawk UAS, Triton’s autonomous operations are supported by land-based command and control mission planners and sensor operators. It is equipped with a unique and robust mission sensor suite that provides 360-degree coverage on all sensors, providing unprecedented maritime domain awareness for the U.S. Navy.
MQ-4C Triton Copyright © Alex Evers, Northrop Grumman

Status

In active service

Crew

1 Air Vehicle Operator (Remote)
1 Mission Commander (Remote)
2 Sensor Operators (Remote)

Capacity

1 451,5 kilograms maximum internal payload 3 200 pounds maximum internal payload
1 088,62 kilograms maximum external payload 2 400 pounds maximum external payload

Characteristics

Dimensions
Length: 14.51 meters 47.6 feet
Wingspan: 39.9 meters 130.9 feet
Height: 4.69 meters 15.4 feet
Weight
Gross takeoff weight: 14 628.36 kilograms 32 250 pounds
Features
Power plant: one Rolls-Royce AE3007H turbofan engine
Self deploy: 8 200 nautical miles » 15 186.4 kilometers 9 436.39 miles
Maximum speed: 331 knots true airspeed » 613 kilometers per hour 380.91 miles per hour
Ceiling: 17 221.2 meters 56 500 feet
Endurance: 24+ hours