Adding an extra spiral of testing before the Global Hawk integration process is somewhat of a conservative approach, the major said, designed to reduce risk though a step-by-step test process.
Proteus is less capable than the Global Hawk, in terms of altitude, airspeed and other performance parameters, but the key to the upcoming test period will be to evaluate the performance of the radar itself rather than the platform, according to Col. Dwyer Dennis, commander of the 851st Electronic Systems Wing.
"MP-RTIP is a family of systems with common software and radar modes," Colonel Dennis said. "The testing that will be completed on Proteus is essentially a risk reduction spiral from which we can glean vital information applicable to every variation of the MP-RTIP radar, whether it be Global Hawk or the E-10."
In September, the radar will be incorporated onto Proteus and the contractor will begin flight testing the various radar modes, which include Ground Moving Target Indicator and Air Moving Target Indicator, a capability that tracks moving targets in near real time, and Synthetic Aperture Radar, which is a higher resolution still picture, according to Major Butler.
The testing will culminate with an eight-week evaluation period during which the Air Force, led by the Electronic Systems Center team, will assess the performance of the radar and determine success or failure based on specific performance parameters.
After the Proteus test, the contractor-government team will evaluate the data and embark on further Developmental Test and Evaluation, during which the MP-RTIP will be integrated onto the Global Hawk platform, the major said.
The MP-RTIP-equipped Global Hawk is scheduled to roll off the production line around 2011, to meet Air Force operational needs.