The block 40 RQ-4B Global Hawk has completed its first full system flight with the multiplatform radar technology insertion programme (MP-RTIP) sensor at Edwards Air Force Base, California, US.

The aircraft is the first of a fleet of block 40 Global Hawks, which Northrop Grumman will deliver to Grand Forks Air Force Base, the UAS’s main operating base, in the US.

RQ-4A Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial reconnaissance system, which provides military field commanders with high-resolution, near real-time imagery of large geographic areas.

The programme is funded by the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO) and managed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Air Force, which plans to field 15 of the block 40 variant.

Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems is under contract for the Global Hawk and MP-RTIP sensor, also referred to as the AN/ZPY-2 radar, and is teamed with Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems to deliver the AN/ZPY-2 MP-RTIP radar.