Northrop pushes Global Hawk's MS-177 test flight to January

By Rachel Cohen / January 4, 2017 at 10:13 AM

Northrop Grumman has delayed its test flight of the MS-177 long-range imaging sensor on the RQ-4 Global Hawk to later this month, after it was originally scheduled for late December.

FlightGlobal reported Dec. 16 the multispectral sensor would be flown “next week,” but a company spokesman said in an email Tuesday that Northrop Grumman shut down test flights during the last week of December for the holidays.

“The late December test flight was on schedule, but other scheduled test flights affected the MS-177 schedule,” spokesman Greg Lund wrote. “No test flights took place the last week in December as Northrop Grumman shut down flight testing during the last week of the year. The first flight for MS-177 should be soon.”

Global Hawk successfully flew with the MS-177's predecessor, the Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System-2 (SYERS-2), in early 2016. The U-2 Dragon Lady, which uses SYERS-2, is set for retirement in 2019, and the Air Force is attempting to shift its sensor capabilities to the Global Hawk as an interim fix.