Commercial, Military

Global Hawk Lands in Grand Forks

By Tish Drake | June 2, 2011
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Photo courtesy Northrop Grumman

The first RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) arrived at Grand Forks Air Force Base, the second main operating base in the United States for the aircraft. The Global Hawk arrived from Beale Air Force Base, Calif., on May 26, Northrop Grumman said.

"Expanding the Global Hawk's mission of high altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in today's fight is essential," said Brig. Gen. Paul H. McGillicuddy, 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander. "Having this platform at Grand Forks allows us the ability to fly more missions providing continuous support to combatant commanders around the world."

Both Block 20 and 40 Global Hawks will be controlled from Grand Forks. The Block 40 Global Hawk will deploy from the Grand Forks main operating base to any location worldwide. The Block 40 Global Hawks are equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/ZPY-2 Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program sensor, built with teammate Raytheon Space and Missile Systems.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk flies up to 60,000 feet, above weather and commercial air traffic. Global Hawk flies for more than 32 hours per sortie at speeds approaching 340 knots. The MP-RTIP-equipped Block 40 Global Hawk can persistently see through most types of weather, day or night. As the world's first fully autonomous HALE UAS, Global Hawk meets the global need for persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

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 Company, Waltham, Mass. (ground station); Rolls-Royce Corporation, Indianapolis (engine); and Triumph Aerostructures, Dallas (wing).

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