RQ-4 UAV Sets Endurance Mark

By Tish Drake | March 26, 2008
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Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk set an endurance record for a full-scale, operational unmanned aircraft March 22, completing a 33.1-hour flight at altitudes up to 60,000 feet over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The first Global Hawk Block 20 surpassed both the official and unofficial world un-refueled endurance records for operational unmanned airplanes previously held by the Block 10 variant, Northrop Grumman said. “The Global Hawk has been performing beyond our expectations,” said Bryan Lima, Northrop Grumman Global Hawk chief engineer. “This was the longest mission ever flown by a HALE (high-altitude long-endurance) or MALE (medium-altitude long-endurance) aircraft.” To date, three Global Hawks are currently deployed in support of the global war on terrorism, logging more than 15,700 combat hours with more than 21,000 total program flight hours.

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