Northrop Grumman Unveils Next Generation Global Hawk
Northrop Grumman Unveils Next
Generation Global Hawk
Palmdale, California -- (NG-IS) August 25, 2006 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC)
rolled out the first production version of the new RQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk
unmanned aerial reconnaissance system in a ceremony today at the company's
Antelope Valley Manufacturing Center in Palmdale. Company and U.S. Air Force
officials introduced the advanced capability Block 20 air vehicle to an audience
of senior government and military representatives, community and civic leaders,
industry teammates and employees.
The advanced capability RQ-4 Global Hawk
UAS unveiled in Palmdale
"The Global Hawk is a tremendous asset in the war on terror, equipping American
military commanders with virtually real time surveillance that helps bring
concealed terrorist plots and enemy positions to light," said U.S. Rep. Wally
Herger of California's 2nd congressional district. "The men and women of the 9th
Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, located in the Northern California
district I represent, are operating Global Hawk in combat today in ways never
imagined. The new Block 20 Global Hawk will strengthen their ability to quickly
and accurately find and destroy terrorist targets wherever they may be."
The Block 20 Global Hawk represents a significant increase in capability over
the Block 10 configuration. The larger Block 20 aircraft will carry up to 3,000
pounds of internal payload and will operate with two-and-a-half times the power
of its predecessor. Its open system architecture, a so-called "plug-and-play"
environment, will accommodate new sensors and communication systems as they are
developed to help military customers quickly evaluate and adopt new
"Our Global Hawk customers, employees and industry teammates are committed to
continuously deploy increased combat capability to the fight," said
Seymour, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president of the
Integrated Systems sector. "Production Global Hawks are serving in combat with
distinction today, and the addition of the Block 20 to the fleet will build upon
this success and pave the way for the ever increasing capabilities currently in
work for future block deliveries."
Following a final series of systems tests and a flight test program at Edwards
Air Force Base, Calif., the new Block 20 air vehicle will be delivered to the
Air Force's 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base near Sacramento,
Although Global Hawk is still in concurrent engineering and manufacturing
development and low-rate initial production, the system has been deployed to the
operational theater three times since 2001 and has logged more than 6,500 flight
hours during combat missions. Two production Block 10 aircraft are operated by
the Air Force in theater today.
The first Block 20 is the 17th Global Hawk air vehicle to be built. Northrop
Grumman produced the first seven air vehicles under the advanced concept
technology demonstration phase of the program. Nine Block 10 aircraft have been
produced, including the two aircraft supporting the war on terrorism and two
U.S. Navy aircraft operated under the Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration program.
"The entire Global Hawk program team has done an exceptional job executing the
Block 20 program while supporting the needs of our combat forces, and assisting
other military services and civil agencies in their evaluation of Global Hawk
for maritime surveillance, drug interdiction and homeland security missions,"
said Randy Brown, director of the Air Force's 303rd Aeronautical Systems Group,
Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
The Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration program is helping Navy evaluators
develop maritime surveillance requirements for future systems. Global Hawk has
successfully participated in two naval exercises to date, Trident Warrior in
November 2005 and
the international Rim of the Pacific exercise in July in the
Pacific Ocean around Hawaii.
Earlier this spring, Global Hawk completed a congressionally directed
demonstration of its ability to conduct drug interdiction surveillance. The
system flew four flights off the Florida coast and above the Caribbean, locating
and identifying low-flying aircraft and sea-going vessels.
Operating autonomously from takeoff to landing, Global Hawk flies at altitudes
up to 65,000 feet for more than 36 hours with a range of 13,500 nautical miles.
Using its synthetic aperture radar and electro-optical and infrared sensors, the
RQ-4 Global Hawk provides high-quality reconnaissance imagery even in adverse
weather conditions, as demonstrated during sandstorms in Iraq. Its high altitude
and long endurance allow it to conduct surveillance over an area equal to the
size of Illinois in just 24 hours.
Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk program is based at Northrop Grumman Integrated
Systems' Unmanned Systems Development Center in San Diego, Calif. The company
performs Global Hawk sub-assembly work at its Unmanned Systems Center, Moss
Point, Miss., and final assembly at its Antelope Valley Manufacturing Center in