Global Hawk W250Representatives at the Northrop Grumman pavilion are celebrating news that a Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle has returned to the USA after clocking up more than 4,800 operational flight hours.
The company says the aircraft has been involved in anti-terrorism work in “south-west Asia”, probably Iraq and Afghanistan.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV-3 landed at Edwards AFB, California on Monday after completing 167 reconnaissance missions in the region. Speaking at the show, Dane Marolt, of Northrop Grumman’s unmanned systems team, says that the company is delighted with the milestone.
“This is a tremendous achievement, especially when you consider that this was one of the original DARPA development aircraft. It just goes to show how successful Global Hawk has been,” says Marolt.
Global Hawk received its military airworthiness certificate from the US Air Force last month. This joined the approval already gained from the Federal Aviation Administration – the first UAV to receive such certification.
Marolt adds: “The certification is proof positive that Global Hawk is a serious aircraft built to the same exacting standards as any other military aircraft.”
Randy Brown, director of the Air Force Global Hawk systems group, says: “UAV-3 provided unprecedented intelligence to combatant commanders almost continuously while in the region. The men and women who designed, developed and are now operating Global Hawk can take enormous pride in the performance of this system.”
Global Hawk can fly at more than 60,000ft (18,300m) for more than 35h and can fly, return and land autonomously. The aircraft can survey vast geographic regions once mission parameters have been programmed in.

Source: Flight Daily News