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Global Hawk Arrives at New Grand Forks Base

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Grand Forks AFB Airmen Welcome Global Hawk

(Source: U.S Air Force; issued June 2, 2011)

The first RQ-4 Global Hawk arrived in late May at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., which is the second operating base for the unmanned aircraft. (USAF photo)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --- Airmen celebrated the arrival of the RQ-4 Global Hawk during a ceremony here June 1. The ceremony highlighted the beginning of a new era of remotely piloted aircraft here.

"It is an honor to be here; what a great day for Grand Forks (Air Force Base) and North Dakota -- this is cutting-edge technology," said Maj. Gen. Thomas K. Andersen, the director of requirements at Air Combat Command. "I'm sure this community will thoroughly enjoy the Global Hawk as a tenant unit on this base, and we're grateful for the support you continue to give our Airmen as we look forward to a very, very long relationship.”

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is capable of providing government and military decision makers near real-time, high-altitude, long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery that can support a full spectrum of operations. Flying above ordinary commercial traffic, the aircraft can survey large geographic areas with pinpoint accuracy, without impacting civilian aircraft routes. The imagery provides the most current information available during contingency or crisis situations.

"This marks the next step in the long history of the Air Force and what we provide here at this base to the nation's defense: global vigilance," said Col. Don Shaffer, the 319th Air Base Wing commander. (ends)

First Global Hawk Arrives at Its New Home in Grand Forks

(Source: Northrop Grumman Corp.; issued June 1, 2011)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --- Northrop Grumman Corporation and the U.S. Air Force commemorated the arrival of the first RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) at Grand Forks Air Force Base. The aircraft landed on May 26 from Beale Air Force Base, Calif. The arrival of the Global Hawk also commemorates Grand Forks as the second main operating base in the United States after Beale.

"Expanding the Global Hawk's mission of high altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in today's fight is essential," said Brig. Gen. Paul H. McGillicuddy, 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander. "Having this platform at Grand Forks allows us the ability to fly more missions providing continuous support to combatant commanders around the world."

Both Block 20 and 40 Global Hawks will be controlled from Grand Forks. The Block 40 Global Hawk will deploy from the Grand Forks main operating base to any location worldwide for both military and humanitarian applications.

"We are proud to celebrate the arrival of the Global Hawk and establish Grand Forks as Global Hawk's second main operating base," said George Guerra, HALE Systems vice president, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "The addition of a second main operating base will further enable Global Hawk to provide 24/7 global coverage for both military and humanitarian efforts."

Block 20 and 40 are alike in size, but differ in payload configurations. The Block 40 Global Hawks are equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/ZPY-2 Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) sensor, built with teammate Raytheon Space and Missile Systems in El Segundo, Calif. The MP-RTIP is the first radar sensor to concurrently use synthetic aperture radar imaging, while tracking moving targets simultaneously over large areas.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk flies up to 60,000 feet, above weather and commercial air traffic. Global Hawk flies for more than 32 hours per sortie at speeds approaching 340 knots. The MP-RTIP-equipped Block 40 Global Hawk can persistently see through most types of weather, day or night. As the world's first fully autonomous HALE UAS, Global Hawk meets the global need for persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk program is based at its Aerospace Systems' Unmanned Systems Development Center in San Diego. The company performs Global Hawk subassembly work at its Unmanned Systems Center in Moss Point, Miss., and final assembly at its Antelope Valley Manufacturing Center in Palmdale, Calif.

The principal Global Hawk industry team includes: Aurora Flight Sciences, Bridgeport, West Va. (V-tail assembly and other composite structures); L-3 Communications, Salt Lake City (communication system); Raytheon Company, Waltham, Mass. (ground station); Rolls-Royce Corporation, Indianapolis (engine); and Triumph Aerostructures, Dallas (wing).

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.