Northrop Grumman has created a virtual common imagery processor for the Global Hawk. (Wikimedia Commons)
Northrop Grumman has devised a virtual common imagery processor (CIP) for the Block 40 Global Hawk.
A physical CIP is used by the Global Hawk to process and send imagery data. But the Air Force had an urgent requirement last year for a capability to allow Global Hawk sensor operators to view and respond to real-time imagery. So, Northrop Grumman created a virtual CIP architecture, according to a company news release.
The virtual CIP was used to process and display data relayed back to Mission Control Elements (MCEs) at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. "An image quality checker (IQC), consisting of a single server using just 3.5 inches of rack space, was installed by CIP program personnel and connected to the Grand Forks networks to receive inputs from both of the Block 40 MCEs on base," Northrop Grumman said. "The virtual CIP is capable of handling dual simultaneous data streams and outputting imagery to up to 10 different locations."
A subsequent modification allowed synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to be distributed through the virtual CIP.