Northrop Grumman was awarded an almost $490 million contract for three RQ-4 Global Hawk drones along with ground control equipment and services for Japan, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a release.
The $489,924,430 definitization and increase in scope fixed-price-incentive-fee and cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (FA8620-18-C-1000 PZ0004) for the Japan Global Hawk program provides for three RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30i air vehicles, each containing an enhanced integrated sensor suite payload along with two ground control elements, the Monday, November 19 release said.
The sole-source acquisition contract also includes spares and support equipment, system engineering, program management and a site survey, and is expected to be completed by September 1, 2022.
Under an October 2017 contract, Northrop Grumman was awarded $130.5 million for long lead material for the Japan Global Hawk program.
The sale of the three Global Hawks was approved by the US State Department in November 2015, when the total value of the proposed sale was estimated at $1.2 billion, with Major Defense Equipment making up $689 million.
The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk is an unmanned high-altitude long-endurance surveillance aircraft that first flew in February 1998 and has been in active service with the U.S. military since 2001.
It is designed gather near-real-time high-resolution imagery in all weather, day or night.
Powered by a Rolls-Royce AE 3007 turbofan engine, the aircraft can fly for more than 30 hours without refuelling at a maximum altitude of 60,000 ft.
The drone can carry a 3,000-lbs (1,360-kg) payload, dubbed the Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite, featuring an all-weather synthetic aperture/moving target indicator radar, a long-range high-resolution electro-optical camera and infrared sensors.