Block 40 Global Hawk completes flight test milestone

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s first composites-intensive Block 40 RQ-4 Global Hawk high altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has completed envelope expansion flights, just six months after conducting its first flight.

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s (Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., USA) first composites-intensive Block 40 RQ-4 Global Hawk high altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has completed envelope expansion flights, just six months after conducting its first flight. The Block 40 aircraft will be equipped with the high-performance Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) sensor and is the first of 22 Block 40 Global Hawks assigned to Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., USA.

The company also delivered on time the first development test MP-RTIP sensor to Edwards AFB for integration on the aircraft. The MP-RTIP sensor has completed radar system level performance verification on a surrogate aircraft, and will be integrated into AF-18, a Block 40 Global Hawk aircraft, for operational evaluation.

Global Hawk's range, endurance and large payload capabilities are well suited to provide persistent surveillance with MP-RTIP. Flying at altitudes up to 60,000 ft/18,288m 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.