April 12 (UPI) -- MS-177, a sensor developed by UTC Aerospace Systems, has completed a round of testing with the Northrop Grumman-made RA-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft.
The sensor is a high-resolution imaging device designed to improve capabilities for the Global Hawk in addition to several other surveillance platforms operated by the U.S. Air Force. UTC leaders say the sensor will provide the most advanced reconnaissance tools to date.
"The MS-177 is a game-changer in airborne surveillance," UTC's Kevin Raffery said in a press release. "During its first flight on Global Hawk, MS-177 demonstrated its ability to take the aircraft's imaging capabilities to a new level in terms of coverage area, quality and accuracy."
In addition to providing operators with more detailed images, UTC adds MS-177 will perform surveillance missions over longer ranges, and obtain data at a quicker pace.
Northrop Grumman announced it began testing the MS-177's capabilities on the Global Hawk in early March. Demonstrations are scheduled to continue through the first half of 2017. The event marked the fist time the sensor was integrated with a high-altitude, long-range autonomous aircraft.
Prior to testing with the Global Hawk, it has also been equipped on the E-8C JSTARS aircraft. UTC plans to present an updated variant, known as MS-177A, to be fielded with the Global Hawk in 2019.