Northrop Grumman Unveils Block 40 Global Hawk

By Tish Drake | June 26, 2009
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Northrop Grumman unveiled its next-generation of unmanned aircraft – the RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk. The aircraft iincludes a multi-platform radar technology insertion program sensor, marking the first time  the active electronic scanned array (AESA) technology has been used on a high-altitude unmanned aircraft. "The Global Hawk system is in high demand by joint warfighters overseas, having successfully flown more than 31,000 hours since 2001," said Steve Amburgey, Global Hawk program director for the 303rd Aeronautical Systems Group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Designated AF-18, this Block 40 aircraft is scheduled to begin flight testing next month. The MP-RTIP-equipped Block 40 Global Hawk can fly at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for more than 32 hours per sortie at speeds approaching 340 knots. The principal Global Hawk industry team includes: Aurora Flight Sciences, Bridgeport, West Va. (V-tail assembly and other composite structures); L-3 Communications, Salt Lake City (communication system); Raytheon, Waltham, Mass. (ground station); Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis (engine); and Vought Aircraft Industries, Dallas (wing).

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