Soaring to New Heights

Northrop Grumman delivered five production-version RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles to the Air Force in 2007, setting a new mark. “Not only did we exceed our production and delivery goals last year, but we have also performed on cost and on schedule for the past two years,” Jerry Madigan, Northrop vice president of high-altitude long-endurance systems, said in the company’s Jan. 28 release. USAF’s program of record is to buy 54 Global Hawks. Already all seven Block 10 air vehicles have been delivered, along with two ground stations. Northrop said 17 Global Hawks [six Block 20s, 10 Block 30s, and one Block 40], plus six ground stations, are presently in various stages of production and flight test. The Air Force had three Global Hawks deployed in 2007 to Southwest Asia to support operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Last year was also a year in which USAF utilized Global Hawk in new ways, for example, providing eyes in the sky during the Southern California wildfires in late October, the company said.