The Global Hawk has successfully used a second satellite link to transfer data. (John Schwab/Air Force)
The Global Hawk UAV has successfully used a second satellite link to transfer data.
The ground and air demonstrations, conducted in January at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., "highlighted a unique split link capability for Global Hawk that allows it to send mission data through a satellite link that is independent of the link used for command and control," according to a Northrop Grumman announcement.
The tests were held at the behest of the Air Force's Air Combat Command, which wanted to explore whether "Global Hawk is compatible with different SATCOM [satellite communications] architectures with no changes to the aircraft's hardware, software or payload," Northrop Grumman said.
"This powerful demonstration illustrates Global Hawk's unique versatility," said Alfredo Ramirez, director and chief architect of Northrop Grumman's HALE [high altitude long endurance division]. "We're ecstatic with Global Hawk's ability to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance products to operational end-users via multiple paths."