Palmdale Milestone

Northrop Grumman announced Monday that an RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance aircraft built for the Air Force completed the first-ever roundtrip flight from the company’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif., back in February. “This was the first time ever that the same Global Hawk has taken off and landed in a single mission from Palmdale, heralding a new era of flights in and out of the facility,” said George Guerra, Northrop’s vice president of high-altitude, long-endurance systems. This aircraft, designated AF-20, is one of the Air Force’s Global Hawk Block 30 airframes. Once the ability for full acceptance of RQ-4 aircraft is in place at the Palmdale site, Global Hawks coming off the production line will be delivered directly to the Air Force’s RQ-4 operating base at Beale AFB, Calif. The Global Hawk fleet reached 30,000 total combat flight hours in February.