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RQ-4 to support US hypersonic missile test efforts

25th August 2022 - 16:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


Modified RQ-4 Global Hawks will support US SkyRange hypersonic missile flight tests. (Photo: US DoD)

RQ-4B Global Hawks will be integrated with advanced payloads to give the aircraft the capability to support testing of hypersonic vehicles for the US military.

Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 Global Hawk has been selected to support US SkyRange programme hypersonic missile flight tests from its Grand Sky facility in North Dakota, the company announced on 24 August.

Under the SkyRange initiative, Block 20 and 30 RQ-4B aircraft are being transferred to the DoD Test Resource Management Center (TRMC) to be reconfigured into RangeHawks.

The conversion will integrate advanced payloads to equip the aircraft with the capability to support the testing of hypersonic vehicles and other long-range weapons, Northrop Grumman noted in a statement.

Previous hypersonic testing relied on ship-based tracking but given the RQ-4's flexibility and built-in sensors, they can offer a cheaper and operationally less complex alternative.

According to the manufacturer, RangeHawks have already participated in several hypersonic test events in the Pacific and elsewhere,

Northrop Grumman is also managing operations and sustainment of the RQ-4A RangeHawk prototype fleet in partnership with NASA at Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, along with integrating new payloads for the future RQ-4B fleet.

The Shephard News Team


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