RQ-4B Block 40 unveiled at Palmdale
Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force unveiled the next-generation of high-flying unmanned aircraft - the RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk - in a ceremony today at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility.
"This unveiling of the first of 15 Block 40 aircraft is a significant step to fielding Global Hawk to Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, in 2010 and reaffirms our excellent track record of delivering Global Hawks since low rate production began," said Duke Dufresne, sector vice president for Northrop Grumman Aerospace System's Strike and Surveillance Systems Division.
Use of the MP-RTIP sensor on the Block 40 Global Hawks marks the first time the active electronic scanned array (AESA) technology has been used on a high-altitude unmanned aircraft. AESA technology provides all-weather, day-night synthetic aperture radar mapping and ground moving target indicator capability.
Designated AF-18, this Block 40 aircraft was the 27th Global Hawk built since the program's inception in 1995 and is scheduled to begin flight testing next month.