SAN DIEGO, 7 May 2015. The U.S. Air Force RQ-4Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance autonomous unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has completed Milestone C approval, advancing the Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC)-built Global Hawk program in the Department of Defense's acquisition process and enabling modernization activity.
"The most important date in any acquisition program is the day you get a new and needed capability into our warfighter's hands," says Mick Jaggers, director, Global Hawk, Northrop Grumman. "We have proven that we can successfully take systems like this through Milestone C and into full-rate production, even in times of war.
"It is true testament to the U.S. Air Force and the Global Hawk industry team that we have been able to effectively support the warfighter for over a decade with a variety of sensor payload capabilities," Jaggers adds. "In working with the Air Force, we seek to fly a variety of additional payloads within size, weight, power and communication parameters."
The UAS achieved a predetermined level of software maturity and the ability to demonstrate operational interoperability with other relevant systems prior to Milestone C approval. Global Hawk maintains estimated costs within cost caps and has full program funding for the length of the Future Years Defense Program. The Milestone Decision Authority approved Global Hawk's updated Acquisition Strategy and Acquisition Program Baseline.
Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk industry team includes ATK, Aurora, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, GE Aviation, United Technologies - Goodrich, Harris, Honeywell, L-3 Communications, Macrolink, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce, Sierra Nevada Corp., and Triumph Aerostructures.
Global Hawk variants have flown more than 150,000 flight hours in support of antiterrorism, antipiracy, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, airborne communications relay and information-sharing missions.
Northrop Grumman is a global security company providing systems, products, and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.