US: Northrop Grumman has devised a virtual common imagery processor (CIP) for the Block 40 Global Hawk. A physical CIP is used by the Global Hawk to process and send imagery data. But the Air Force had an urgent requirement last year for a capability to allow Global Hawk sensor operators to view and respond to real-time imagery which is why Northrop Grumman created a virtual CIP architecture.
The virtual CIP was used to process and display data relayed back to Mission Control Elements (MCEs) at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. "An image quality checker (IQC), consisting of a single server using just 3.5 inches of rack space, was installed by CIP programme personnel and connected to the Grand Forks networks to receive inputs from both of the Block 40 MCEs on base. The virtual CIP is capable of handling dual simultaneous data streams and outputting imagery to up to 10 different locations. A subsequent modification allowed synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to be distributed through the virtual CIP,” said a spokesperson from Northrop Grumman.
Source: Northrop Grumman