Friday, August 7, 2009
Global Hawk Hits Milestone
Northrop Grumman's RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in July reached 25,000 combat hours during an operational sortie from a deployed location. "This is a significant program achievement, accounting for more than 76 percent of the aircraft's 32,500 cumulative flight hours for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy," said George Guerra, Northrop Grumman vice president of high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) systems. "We have been flying Global Hawks more effectively than any other deployed system and our production team continues to perform exceptionally well, with the 26th production air vehicle in final assembly. At this rate, we'll be on the road to completing initial operational test and evaluation to support a full-rate production decision next year." First flown in 1998, Global Hawk has logged 1,229 missions so far in support of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) and disaster relief efforts. It has seen service in Operations Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Iraqi Freedom, and in several U.S. and international joint forces exercises. It has also provided support during Hurricane Ike and California wildfires, according to Northrop Grumman.