Global Hawk

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract to continue the provision of logistics and sustainment services for the US Air Force’s (USAF) RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

Awarded by the US Department of Defense, the $306m contract continues an existing contract for Global Hawk maintenance, inventory management, parts procurement and other tasks necessary to ensure the availability of the unmanned platform.

In particular, the agreement covers the aircraft as well as mission control elements and forward-operating location support.

Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Global Hawk director Mick Jaggers said: "In a turbulent world, Global Hawk’s unparalleled reliability has made it an indispensable asset to the US Air Force.

"Our team takes great pride in supporting the warfighter with an aircraft system that is ready and available whenever and wherever it’s needed."

Powered by an Allison Rolls-Royce AE3007H turbofan engine, the Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance UAS designed to provide field commanders with high-resolution, near real-time imagery of large geographic areas in support of military, humanitarian and environmental missions.

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"In a turbulent world, Global Hawk’s unparalleled reliability has made it an indispensable asset to the US Air Force."

Capable of carrying a range of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor payloads, the UAS enables commanders to detect moving or stationary targets on the ground, while providing airborne communications and information sharing capabilities to military units in harsh environments.

The remotely piloted system has been used by USAF during wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, in addition to supporting intelligence gathering and reconnaissance efforts after the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan.

Global Hawk is also being used by NASA for scientific and environmental research projects.

Different variants of Global Hawk have to date flown more than 130,000 flight hours, supporting diverse missions worldwide.

Image: A USAF RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo by Bobbi Zapra.

Defence Technology