Global Hawk Achieves Military Airworthiness Certification: A First for UAVs
Global Hawk Achieves Military
Airworthiness Certification: A First for UAVs
San Diego, California -- (NG-IS) February 13, 2006 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) RQ-4A Global Hawk
reconnaissance system is the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to achieve a
military airworthiness certification. This certification, along with the
Certificate of Authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration,
recognizes Global Hawk's ability to routinely fly within national airspace.
RQ-4A Global Hawk
Northrop Grumman Photo
Global Hawk's military
airworthiness was certified Jan. 25, 2006, by the U.S. Air Force. In granting
the certificate, the Air Force determined that the Global Hawk system has a
proven track record of safe and reliable operations.
"This is a historic event," said
Randy Brown, Global Hawk Systems Group director with the Air Force's
Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. "The
aircraft was evaluated against over 500 technical criteria in order to get this
This airworthiness certification
covers all five production RQ-4A Global Hawk vehicles delivered to the Air Force
thus far and outweighs civilian experimental airworthiness certifications that
have been granted to other UAVs. The military airworthiness certification
process is very rigorous and has taken 3 years and 77,000 man-hours to achieve.
This is a continuous process that will be maintained through the life of the
aircraft, similar to that for all manned aircraft.
"Global Hawk was also the first
UAV to receive a National Certificate of Authorization (COA) from the Federal
Aviation Administration," said George Guerra, Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk
Program Director. "Global Hawk continues to be a trailblazer in leading the way
for UAV certifications."
To receive the COA, Northrop
Grumman worked closely with the Federal Aviation Administration to define
airspace requirements for UAVs.
The airworthiness certification
process for the new RQ-4B Global Hawk has begun and is expected to be completed
by late 2007. The larger RQ-4B Global Hawk will carry fifty percent more payload
than the current RQ-4A Global Hawk. First flight for the RQ-4B is planned later
During three deployments in
support of the war on terrorism, more than 250 missions and 5,000 combat flight
hours have been logged by Global Hawk aircraft.
Global Hawk flies autonomously
at an altitude of more than 60,000 feet, above inclement weather and prevailing
winds, for more than 35 hours at a time. During a single mission, it can provide
detailed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information in near-real
time over 40,000 square miles - approximately the size of Illinois.
Northrop Grumman Integrated
Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization.
Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and
supports network-enabled integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use
on networks. For its government and civil customers worldwide, Integrated
Systems delivers best-value solutions, products and services that support
military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and
control; and integrated strike warfare.
Contact: Revelle Anderson, Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, (858) 618-4405, (858) 205-7694 (cellular)