Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Northrop Grumman-Built Global Hawk Unmanned Reconnaissance Aircraft Reaches 25,000 Combat Hours

Northrop Grumman-Built Global Hawk Unmanned Reconnaissance Aircraft
Reaches 25,000 Combat Hours
August 5th, 2009

SAN DIEGO - Aug. 5, 2009 - Northrop Grumman Corporation's
(NYSE:NOC) RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) recently
reached a major milestone -- 25,000 combat hours -- during an
operational sortie July 8-9 from a deployed location.

"This is a significant program achievement, accounting for more
than 76 percent of the aircraft's 32,500 cumulative flight hours for
the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy," said George Guerra, Northrop Grumman
vice president of high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) systems. "We
have been flying Global Hawks more effectively than any other deployed
system and our production team continues to perform exceptionally well,
with the 26th production air vehicle in final assembly. At this rate,
we'll be on the road to completing initial operational test and
evaluation to support a full-rate production decision next year."

First flown in 1998, Global Hawk has logged 1,229 missions so
far in support of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) and disaster
relief efforts. It has seen service in Operations Enduring Freedom
(Afghanistan) and Iraqi Freedom, and in several U.S. and international
joint forces exercises. It has also provided support during Hurricane
Ike and California wildfires.

In addition, Global Hawk's proven and unique capabilities to
fly at high altitudes and cover large areas for long periods of time
led the Air Force to recently select the Block 20 configuration for the
Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), an airborne
communications system that will provide warfighters with critical
real-time battlefield information. Tasking under the Joint Urgent
Operational Need includes installing BACN on two Block 20 Global Hawk
unmanned aircraft, which enable around-the-clock coverage.

"Global Hawk has been a constant companion for our men and
women overseas, providing persistent intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance for nearly eight years," said Steve Amburgey, Global
Hawk program director for the 303d Aeronautical Systems Group at
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. "The system is so robust and
reliable that it's in high demand by our warfighters who fly them
approximately six to seven days a week, averaging more than 600 hours
per month in theater."

As the world's first fully autonomous HALE UAS, Global Hawk can
soar at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for more than 32 hours and
send near-real-time reconnaissance imagery to air, ground, and sea
forces. It can fly three times as long and operates at a fraction of
the cost per flight hour than its manned counterpart. Compared to other
similar UAS, it only takes a single Global Hawk to collect the same
information as 18 smaller medium-altitude UAS.

To date, 33 Global Hawks have been assembled, including the two
for the Navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstration program,
seven advanced concept technology demonstration aircraft built under
the original development program sponsored by the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency, and one Euro Hawk for the German Ministry of

Global Hawks are currently flown in four locations across the
globe: Beale Air Force Base, home of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing and
the RQ-4's main operating base, in Northern California; Edwards Air
Force Base in Southern California; Patuxent River Naval Air Station in
Maryland; and a Forward Operating Location in support of the OCO

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security
company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products,
and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems,
shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial
customers worldwide.

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