SAN DIEGO, 31 Dec. 2008. The U.S. Navy's Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 named Northrop Grumman's RQ-4 Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration (GHMD) team as the Test Team of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2008.
The Northrop Grummanteam won the award for their impressive achievements during the first half of the year.
"The GHMD test team has laid the operational, tactical, and doctrinal foundation for future unmanned maritime surveillance systems and is an outstanding example of a dedicated team supporting the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) mission of providing the best possible weapon system to the warfighter," says Capt. Bob Dishman, program manager of Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems (PMA-262) for NAVAIR. "Their willingness to go above and beyond all expectations as evident in their long list of successes is commendable."
The team's accomplishments included performing more than 1,000 hours of flight operations over an 18-month period, troubleshooting issues with the communications system, integrating the automatic identification system into the aircraft, conducting tests with the ocean surveillance initiative, and developing tactics and guidelines for unmanned patrol systems.
"From integrating the Navy Global Hawk high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aircraft into national airspace to providing hurricane and fire support surveillance missions, the GHMD team is having yet another triumphant year demonstrating the system's flexibility and persistence," says Terry Barefoot, GHMD program manager for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. "With the first class of Navy pilots currently training alongside Air Force pilots at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., we will be better prepared for future extended missions and sustained deployments."
From January to June 2008, the team also supported various operational activities, including the Southeastern Anti-Submarine Warfare Initiative 08-2, the USS Iwo Jima Group Sail, and the Commander Carrier Strike Group 8. The team's successes during this period culminated with the Trident Warrior exercise in June when the team flew more than 113 hours over a five-week period, including a scheduled 25.5-hour maritime mission off the coast of California and Hawaii from a ground station at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and an unplanned 23-hour humanitarian mission in which a GHMD was re-tasked to assist in the Northern California wildfires.
Capable of soaring up to 65,000 feet for more than 35 hours, a GHMD system was deployed to Naval Base Ventura County in Point Mugu, Calif., in late May to support Trident Warrior and the ensuing Rim of the Pacific 2008 fleet exercise in July when the system completed four missions totaling more than 92 hours. To date, the two GHMD aircraft have flown more than 1,350 hours.
The principal Global Hawk team members include: Aurora Flight Sciences in Bridgeport, West Va. (V-tail assembly and other composite structures); L-3 Communications in Salt Lake City (communication system); Raytheon in Waltham, Mass. (integrated sensor suite and ground station); Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, Ind. (engine); and Vought Aircraft Industries in Dallas (wing).