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New Global Hawk Joins the Nest at Edwards

New Global Hawk Joins the Nest at Edwards

By Leigh Anne Bierstine, Air Force Flight Test Center Public Affairs.

Edwards Air Force, California -- (AFPN) April 26, 2002 -- The fourth Global Hawk test aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight April 23, touching down here after a four-and-a-half hour initial flight test.

A new Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle is towed to its new home at the 452nd Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on April 23.

Photo by Carlos Rolon

The new arrival joins the other Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicles undergoing flight-testing here as part of the engineering, manufacturing and development phase of defense acquisition. The new aircraft arrived from Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, where it was built by Northrop Grumman.

The new aircraft's first flight went exactly as planned, said Lt. Col. Michael Guidry, director of the Global Vigilance Combined Test Force here.

"The sortie met all of its objectives," Guidry said. "This initial quick look gave us a good assessment of the overall health of this aircraft."


A new Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle touches down at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on April 23 after making its maiden flight from Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., where it was built by lead government contractor Northrop Grumman.

Photo by Carlos Rolon

Guidry also said the new arrival will boost the test force's ability to support both testing and operational needs. The Global Hawk saw an early operational debut when it deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"This new aircraft will help us support quick-reaction testing of the Global Hawk," Guidry said. "Based on requests we get from the field, we can incorporate real-time changes to the aircraft. This allows our test force to develop a better weapon system for everyone who takes it into combat."

The Global Hawk is designed to provide battlefield commanders with near real-time, high-resolution, reconnaissance imagery. Flying at extremely high altitudes, Global Hawk can survey large geographic areas giving military decision-makers the most current information.

To ensure a successful EMD phase, the test force here is working closely with the reconnaissance systems program office at the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The program office is responsible for moving Global Hawk toward low-rate initial production.

According to Guidry, the test force expects delivery of the first production representative aircraft this fall.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).