Northrop Grumman, a global security company, has been awarded a contract modification worth $16,372,416 to sustain the Global Hawk (RQ-4) aircraft.

The modification includes the purchase of replenishment spares for operational use and to support depot repair, as well as two engineering change proposals to support diminishing manufacturing sources being produced under the primary contract. This brings the total cumulative face value of the agreement to $250,409,843.

The work will be performed in the Republic of Korea and Sierra Vista, Arizona. The contracting activity is the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

In 2020, South Korea established a new air force reconnaissance unit, with the RQ-4 Global Hawk Aircraft responsible for the operations of the key reconnaissance assets.

Global Hawk is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) known for its long endurance and high-altitude capabilities, making it an ideal platform for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. With the purchase of replenishment spares, the Global Hawk will continue to support critical national security missions.

Harry Boneham, an aerospace, defence, and security analyst at GlobalData, provided his outlook on the procurement: “The US rarely exports military UAVs such as the Global Hawk due to a number of factors such as reducing the proliferation of advanced unmanned technology.

Currently, UAV exports contravene the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which, while non-binding, does complicate the export of drones from the US. As a result, the club of militaries operating the Global Hawk is small, limited to a group of close US allies including NATO, South Korea and Japan.”

The sustainment contract modification is expected to be completed by Feb. 24, 2028, providing long-term support for the Global Hawk program. The aircraft has supported national security missions and is an asset for the United States Air Force and international customers.

Northrop Grumman has a long history of supporting the United States military and its allies through developing and producing defence technologies.

Last year, Northrop Grumman delivered the first RQ-4B Global Hawk UAV to Japan. Under a foreign military sales programme, Japan will procure three RQ-4B Global Hawks to bolster its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.