ARTS V is the fifth generation system which was engineered for a pair of Northrop Grumman’s (NGC) prototype Global Hawk UAVs. The High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) aircraft are stationed at NASA DFRC’s Edwards AFB for use in joint NGC/NASA research. The first mission for the ARTS V is the DARPA KQ-X program, which will flight demonstrate autonomous aerial refueling between the two Global Hawks in 2012.

Global Hawk AV#1
Global Hawk AV#1


For the Global Hawk UAVs, the WVHTC Foundation engineered, built, tested and delivered:

  • 2 Flight Units
  • 3 Flight-Equivalent Laboratory Units
  • 1 Portable Test Computer


One flight unit is installed on each of the Global Hawk UAVs. Their function for the KQ-X program is to directly control mission-specific tems (refueling pumps, hoses, etc.), host third party application software to conduct the refueling mission, and serve as the interface between other refueling-specific sensors installed on the aircraft specifically for the test and the main flight computer. A single ARTS V flight unit features a ¾ ATR chassis with two single board computers and a wealth of external I/O including 1553B, Ethernet, RS-422, CANbus, discrete and analog. Additionally, the ARTS V has 64 GB of on-board data storage capacity. ARTS V runs the VxWorks 5.5 OS.

The ARTS V flight units are environmentally certified to MIL-STD-810F (vibration, shock, and thermal) and MIL-STD-461E (EMI).

For more information on the Global Hawks UAVs:


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