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Hunter – UAV

 

RQ-5A Hunter Overview

The Hunter tactical unmanned system allows commanders to look deep into enemy territory by collecting and relaying real-time day/night video surveillance back to ground control and mission monitoring stations for intelligence-gathering and target-acquisition information. Since it entered the Army inventory in 1996, the fleet of Hunter UAVs has accumulated more than 37,000 flight hours, including more than 10,000 hours supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Key Features

·         Hunter was developed to meet joint service reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition requirements at division and corps echelons.

·         The combat-proven Hunter was the Army's first deployed UAV system, It provides contingency deployment capability for large payload, extended endurance, long-range missions and relay operations.

·         The U.S. Army is using the Hunter family of UAV systems as an interim Extended Multi-Purpose (ERMP) UAV until that system is acquired and fielded.

·         Northrop Grumman has integrated Viper Strike anti-armor munitions with Hunter. The company successfully demonstrated a lethal capability against moving armored targets at White Sands Missile Range in October 2002 and July 2003.

·         As the U.S. Army's primary UAV integrator, Northrop Grumman provides all depot-level maintenance, support and engineering services for the Hunter system.

·         The Hunter TUAV system is fielded to III Corps, XVIII Airborne Corps and V Corps

 

MQ-5B Hunter Overview

MQ-5B Hunter is a multi-mission, medium altitude endurance tactical unmanned aerial system optimized to provide division and corps commanders with a dedicated reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) capability. It builds upon the successful combat heritage of the workhorse RQ-5A Hunter, the U.S. Army's first fielded UAV system (1996). Operated and maintained in the field by enlisted soldiers, the RQ-5A has accomplished its missions with distinction in peace and war, setting DoD standards for reliability and availability.

The MQ-5B conducts battlefield surveillance using its multi-mission optronic payload. Flying over the battlefield, it gathers RSTA and battle damage information in real time, then relays it via video link to commanders and soldiers on the ground. The payload also broadcasts its sensor data to ground control and mission monitoring stations, providing commanders with enhanced situation awareness and the ability to proactively plan and execute decisive combat operations.


The MQ-5B Hunter is distinguished from the original RQ-5A Hunter by its heavy fuel engine, a Department of Defense (DoD) first, its "wet" (fuel-carrying) extended center wing with weapons capable hard points, and the most modern avionics suite in the DoD inventory. The MQ-5B Hunter system uses an Army One System ground control station, and features an automated take-off and landing capability, both common to Army UAV systems.

 

Air Vehicle. The MQ-5B features a robust, fixed-wing, twin tail-boom design with redundant control systems powered by two heavy fuel engines, one to "push", one to "pull" the air vehicle. With a gross take-off weight of 1800 pounds, it can fly at altitudes up to 22,000 feet, performing missions up to 15 hours in duration. Unique capabilities include a relay mode that allows one Hunter to control another at extended ranges or over terrain obstacles typical of those found in the Balkans.

Heavy Fuel Engine. To help the Army achieve its goal of a single battlefield fuel, Northrop Grumman adapted a commercial-off-the-shelf heavy fuel engine that allows MQ-5B AV to climb faster, operate at higher altitudes and increase endurance while reducing maintenance time and operations and support costs.

Wet (Fuel-Carrying) Extended Center Wing. To increase Hunter's ability to carry and employ external weapon stores, Northrop Grumman designed and produced a longer, fuel-carrying center wing featuring two hard points. Northrop Grumman's Viper Strike laser-guided munition, a precision kill - low collateral damage capability, was extensively demonstrated using the Hunter system.

Modern Avionics. To increase readiness and reduce the Soldier's logistics burden, Northrop Grumman developed a new suite of avionics for Hunter including upgraded mission computers, an auxiliary power distribution unit, new inertial navigation system and GPS units and an APX-118 IFF transponder. The avionics suite improves AV performance by reducing size, weight, and power consumption of the equipment used to control the aircraft and manage its critical subsystems.

 

MQ-5C E-Hunter Overview

E-Hunter is a multi-mission, medium altitude and endurance, tactical unmanned air system (UAS) optimized to provide warfighters or other agencies with a dedicated, persistent reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) capability. It builds upon the combat heritage of the workhorse RQ-5A Hunter, the U.S. Army's first fielded UAV system (1996) and its evolution to the MQ-5B configuration currently being fielded. Operated and maintained in the field by enlisted soldiers, the Hunter has proudly accomplished all missions with distinction in peace and war, setting Department of Defense (DoD) standards for reliability and availability.


The Hunter UAV system conducts battlefield surveillance using its multi-mission optronic payload. The E-Hunter can also be outfitted with SAR or electronic payloads or combinations thereof. Flying over the area of interest, it gathers RSTA and battle damage assessment information in real time, providing situational data via video link to commanders and soldiers with ‘boots on the ground’. The actionable intelligence is received at One System ground control stations (GCS) and remote video terminals. The enhanced situation awareness provides commanders with the capability to proactively plan and execute decisive
combat operations.


The E-Hunter is available as a field installable kit or a complete air vehicle. The ‘kit’ concept replaces the MQ-5B wing, tail boom and empennage and their associated sub-systems with the same items as proposed on the Hunter II, a proven production configuration, to significantly increase payload capability and endurance.


Air Vehicle. Both the MQ-5B and E-Hunter feature a robust, fixed-wing, twin tail-boom design with redundant control systems powered by two engines, one to "push", one to "pull" the air vehicle. Northrop Grumman adapted a COTS heavy fuel engine to the Hunter AV. Turbo-charging allows the AV to climb faster, operate at higher altitude and increase its endurance while reducing maintenance time and operating costs. E-Hunter’s main landing gear is retractable increasing aerodynamics and eliminating payload obscuration. The wider, fuel-carrying center wing features two hard points that can carry 130 lbs each. Northrop Grumman’s Viper Strike laser-guided munition -- a precision kill, low collateral damage capability -- has been extensively demonstrated using the Hunter system. Hunter system avionics are the most modern of any DoD UAV. They include modern PC based mission computers, an auxiliary power distribution unit, the Litton LN-251 inertial navigation system and GPS units and an APX-118 IFF transponder. The avionics suite also improves air vehicle performance by reducing size, weight and power consumption of components used to control the aircraft and manage its critical subsystems.


Army One System. The E-Hunter is fully compatible with the U.S. Army One System ground control station, remote video terminals, and automated take-off and landing capability.
Only a software switch is required to convert from MQ-5B to E-Hunter flight control or an MQ-8B Fire Scout or an RQ-7B Shadow UAV. The Hunter One System GCS software includes the Hunter unique relay capability where one relay Hunter controls a second penetrator Hunter at extended ranges or over terrain obstacles typical of those found in the Balkans and Afghanistan.

 

(Based on resources provided by Northrop Grumman)