Getting Ready

Air Force and Northrop Grumman officials plan to roll out the first RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 aircraft June 25 at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif. The Block 40 is the only iteration of the high-flying unmanned reconnaissance platform that carries the Northrop-Raytheon advanced electronically scanned array radar system called the MP-RTIP sensor. It will provide “enhanced ground moving target indication and high-quality radar imagery,” said Yvette Weber, engineering director with the 303rd Aeronautical Systems Group at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The Air Force plans to purchase 15 Block 40 aircraft as part of its 54-aircraft program of record for the Global Hawk. The first Block 40 is scheduled for delivery in 2011 to Grand Forks AFB, N.D., which is expected to be the stateside home to this variant. Other versions of the Global Hawk are already based at Beale AFB, Calif., and some Global Hawks will call Andersen AFB, Guam, home starting in 2010. (Includes Wright-Patterson report by Derek Kaufman)