The Army awarded Northrop Grumman a contract modification worth more than $12 million for upgrades to its MQ-5B Hunter unmanned aircraft.

In a contract announcement from the Department of Defense, Northrop’s $12.7 million modification calls for an engineering change to accommodate high-definition payloads on the Hunter.

The Hunter is a multimission medium altitude-long endurance UAS capable of staying aloft for 21 hours with a maximum flight height of 18,000 feet.

According to the Army’s UAS Roadmap released in 2012, these capabilities are essential to the war fighter and are a vital link to other reconnaissance platforms. The aircraft’s sensors detect, identify and track hostile activity, enabling the ability to target threats or maneuver around them, the document states. Upgraded variants after 2008 enabled the Hunter to deploy munitions.

The work under the contract modification will be completed around Oct. 20, 2018, the announcement said.