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6/6/2011 | 1 MINUTE READ

First Global Hawk UAS arrives at new home in North Dakota

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Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota will become the second home base of the composites-intensive RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

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Northrop Grumman Corp. and the U.S. Air Force on June 1 commemorated the arrival of the first RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) at Grand Forks Air Force Base (North Dakota, USA). The aircraft landed on May 26 from Beale Air Force Base, Calif. The arrival of the Global Hawk also commemorates Grand Forks as the second main operating base in the United States after Beale.

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 for both military and humanitarian applications.

Block 20 and 40 are alike in size, but differ in payload configurations. The Block 40 Global Hawks are equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/ZPY-2 Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) sensor, built with teammate Raytheon Space and Missile Systems in El Segundo, Calif. The MP-RTIP is the first radar sensor to concurrently use synthetic aperture radar imaging, while tracking moving targets simultaneously over large areas.

"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."

"We are proud to celebrate the arrival of the Global Hawk and establish Grand Forks as Global Hawk's second main operating base," said George Guerra, HALE Systems vice president, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "The addition of a second main operating base will further enable Global Hawk to provide 24/7 global coverage for both military and humanitarian efforts."

The RQ-4 Global Hawk flies up to 60,000 ft/18,288m 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.

Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk program is based at its Aerospace Systems' Unmanned Systems Development Center in San Diego. The principal Global Hawk industry team includes: Aurora Flight Sciences, Bridgeport, W.V. (V-tail assembly and other composite structures); L-3 Communications, Salt Lake City, Utah (communication system); Raytheon Company, Waltham, Mass. (ground station); Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind. (engine); and Triumph Aerostructures, Dallas, Texas (wing).

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