UTC Aerospace Systems has successfully completed the first flight test of its MS-177 imaging sensor on a Northrop Grumman drone in Palmdale.

The company, a unit of United Technologies Corp. in Farmington, Conn., said that with the test complete, it will begin a six-month qualification and testing phase before fielding the system in late 2017. The test was held Feb. 8 on a Northrop RQ-4B Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft.

“As the most advanced imaging sensor of its kind, the MS-177 is a game-changer in airborne surveillance,” Kevin Raftery, vice president at UTC, said in a statement. “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. The success of the first MS-177 flight test is a testament to the strong collaboration on this effort between UTC Aerospace Systems, Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force.”

UTC was contracted by the Air Force in 2016 to support the integration, testing and fielding of the baseline MS-177 sensor on Global Hawk.