Global Hawk Block 40 flight test programme under way
Northrop Grumman today reported the first flight of the Block 40 configuration of the RQ-4 Global Hawk which took place on Nov. 16.
Designated AF-18, the advanced capability aircraft flew for approximately two hours from Northrop Grumman Corporation's manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif., to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. "AF-18, the eleventh of the next-generation Global Hawk Block 20/30/40s to arrive at Edwards Air Force Base, performed beautifully," said George Guerra, Northrop Grumman vice president of HALE systems.
This first flight also marks the end of an era, as Global Hawk production acceptance activities will transition in the near future from Edwards Air Force Base to Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, improving efficiency and flow of company products. In addition to AF-18, a Block 30 aircraft, AF-19, was recently delivered to the Air Force and is one of 11 major deliveries by the program within the last three months.
AF-18 is the first of 15 Block 40 Global Hawk aircraft scheduled for fielding to Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, in 2010. The aircraft will carry an advanced, all-weather multi-platform radar technology insertion program (MP-RTIP) sensor, providing the capability to detect, track and identify stationary and moving targets.