Northrop steps up efforts to secure UK Global Hawk sale
Northrop Grumman aims to hold further discussions at the show with the UK Ministry of Defence over the potential use of the Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle to meet the country's surveillance requirements.
The US company, which has a major industrial presence in the UK, is exhibiting its full-scale Global Hawk model, alongside the Fire Scout helicopter unmanned air vehicle.
Describing Northrop's efforts to sell Global Hawk to the UK as "aspirational", Ian Milne, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems vice-president for the UK, Scandinavia and the Baltics, says the company is prepared to look at a variety of different options including service provision arrangements.
The large UAV platform is being offered in competition with many other platforms to meet the UK's Scavenger requirement, which seeks a persistent intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capability to enter use from around 2015 to 2018.
The Global Hawk has already been selected by NATO, and the Eurohawk version being developed together with EADS to meet Germany's signals intelligence needs recently had its first flight.
"If you look at the range of roles that the Global Hawk is currently doing, from broad area maritime surveillance using SAR/GMTI radars, to SIGINT packages, to lots of other things, there may well be an opportunity in the future if the UK decides a substantial UAV could take on some of these roles," says Milne.
For a UK acquisition of Global Hawk, there are "a number of different innovative business models we could consider", he says.
"This is something that the company could offer if it is to address markets that are fiscally stretched, such as the UK."
Northrop believes that the long-endurance multi-intelligence vehicle (LEMV) hybrid airship - recently selected by the US Army - could also be a candidate for Scavenger. The company is partnered with UK-based Hybrid Air Vehicles for the project.
"That may be an opportunity in the UK, maybe for Scavenger or maybe something else," says Milne. "The MoD has shown a little interest."
FARNBOROUGH: Northrop steps up efforts to secure UK Global Hawk sale