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Unmanned Vehicles

Global Hawk flies record mission hours

9th January 2015 - 12:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


According to a 7 January release by Northrop Grumman, its US Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk and other High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) series variants have flown more ISR missions than even before in one week.

From 10 to 16 September, The UAS series flew 781 hours, of which the RQ-4 Global Hawk flew 87%. The rest were flown by the navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance- Demonstration (BAMS-D) aircraft and NASA's Global Hawk hurricane research asset.

The company had previously achieved a weekly flight record of 665 hours in February. Within a week of accomplishing its record, two new RQ-4 Global Hawks were delivered to the air force: a wide area surveillance model on 10 September and a multi-INT model on 3 October.

With this increase in fleet size and flight hours, combatant commanders will get more ISR capabilities at a time when demand is often higher than aircraft availability. The new models bring the fleet size to 33. An agreement for three more units was signed in August, and they are scheduled for delivery in 2016 and 2017.

Mick Jaggers, Global Hawk UAS program director, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, said: 'There are at least two Global Hawks in the air at all times providing indispensable ISR information to those that need it.'

He added: 'The 2014 fiscal year was the most active yet for the Global Hawk, with a 40% year over year increase in flight hours.

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