Northrop Defends Global Hawk

Development of the most advanced version of Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, the Block 40 aircraft, has not slipped to the right as recent press reports have suggested, and its state-of-the-art radar is performing well in flight testing on a surrogate platform, Tom Twomey, the company’s business development director for high-altitude, long-endurance systems, said Tuesday. However, a proposed Congressional funding cut of about $330 million in Fiscal 2010 would inevitably cause a delay, Twomey said while briefing reporters at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference in Washington D.C. “We met or exceeded all of the requirements that radar had,” Twomey said of the multi-platform radar technology-insertion program sensor that is the key fixture of the Block 40 aircraft. The proposed funding cut, put forth by the House Appropriations Committee, has left program officials “scratching our heads” since there is an urgent need by warfighters in the overseas contingencies for the ground moving target indicator capability that MP-RTIP will provide, he said. The cut would impact the production of three Block 40 air vehicles as well as the advanced procurement of parts and materials for an additional three.