The Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman [NOC] a Dynamic Mission Operations (DYNAMO) software update contract to allow “dynamic inflight rerouting” of the company’s RQ-4B Global Hawk, Northrop Grumman said on Nov. 22.

“The DYNAMO flexible mission planning capability enables in-flight rerouting of Global Hawk, allowing operators to respond to changing real world conditions, whether natural or manmade, during a mission,” the company said. “The upgrade is on track to be fielded in 2023.”

In September, Richard Sullivan, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of program management, told reporters at a briefing at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., that an application for the company’s Distributed Autonomy/Responsive Control (DA/RC) architecture led to DYNAMO (Defense Daily, Sept. 9).

DA/RC is to remove an aircraft’s dependence on continuous communication and to include a human selectable, “man on the loop” level of autonomy for aircraft to share relevant data through low-probability of intercept, jam-resistant links. The company has said it has linked scores of platforms, including the MQ-4C Triton, in simulations and live events through the use of DA/RC and that DA/RC may manage a fleet of aircraft carrier-borne X-47Bs.

DYNAMO is one a series of Global Hawk upgrades, including the Ground Station Modernization Program, to make the high-altitude surveillance drone “even more valuable in a future Joint-All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) environment,” Jane Bishop, Northrop Grumman’s vice president and general manager for autonomous systems, said in a Nov. 22 statement.

Congress allowed the retirement of the four Global Hawk Block 20s in legislation last year, and the Air Force has wanted to shed the 20 Global Hawk Block 30s to devote more funds to research and development and stealthy drones, such as the Northrop Grumman RQ-180, able to penetrate contested environments (Defense Daily, Nov. 16).