Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Northrop Grumman Block 40 Global Hawk Successfully Completes Major Flight Test Milestone

AF-18, the first Block 40 Global Hawk, shown during its first flight in late 2009, has completed envelope expansion flights. The next step is to finalize Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) sensor integration with the airframe and conduct the first flight of the full Block 40 system later this year. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

19 July 2010, EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) first 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, North Dakota.

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.

"The MP-RTIP-equipped Global Hawk illustrates Northrop Grumman's unique ability to create a system that will provide game-changing situational awareness for our warfighters with its unprecedented capability to detect, track and identify stationary and moving targets," said Duke Dufresne, vice president of the Strike and Surveillance Systems division of Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "Our next step is to finalize sensor integration with the airframe and conduct the first flight of the full Block 40 system later this year."

"The MP-RTIP sensor has proven to perform above and beyond expectations," said George Vardoulakis, Northrop Grumman vice president of MP-RTIP. "The superior technology of the MP-RTIP will prove to be an invaluable resource to the warfighter."

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 feet 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 is the platform of choice for a wide variety of sensors, foreign and domestic, meeting the global need for persistent ISR.

Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the Global Hawk and MP-RTIP programs and continues to move these technologies forward under the stewardship of the Air Force's Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and the Electronic Systems Center, located at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. Northrop Grumman's Norwalk, Conn., facility is the principal MP-RTIP radar developer along with principal subcontractor, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, El Segundo, Calif.

Northrop Grumman is also the prime contractor for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (NATO AGS) system, in development at the Melbourne, Florida facility of the Aerospace Systems Battle Management & Engagement Systems division, in which the Block 40 RQ-4 is a key component.

Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk program is based at its Aerospace Systems' Unmanned Systems Development Center in San Diego. The company performs Global Hawk sub-assembly work at its Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss., and final assembly at its Antelope Valley Manufacturing Center in Palmdale, Calif.

The principal Global Hawk industry team includes: Aurora Flight Sciences, Bridgeport, West Va. (V-tail assembly and other composite structures); L-3 Communications, Salt Lake City (communication system); Raytheon Company, Waltham, Mass. (ground station); Rolls-Royce Corporation, Indianapolis (engine); and Vought Aircraft Industries, Dallas (wing).

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. For more information, visit www.northropgrumman.com.

Northrop Grumman Corporation

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