Global Hawk UAS surpasses 200,000 flight hours

The autonomous Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) from Northrop Grumman Corp. surpassed 200,000 flight hours this week, with the U.S Air Force’s Global Hawks logging 88 percent of the hours.

The remaining hours were flown by NASA Global Hawks, Germany’s Full Scale Demonstrator and the Navy’s broad area maritime surveillance aircraft systems.

The Global Hawk UAS operates at altitudes of up to 60,000 feet for more than 30 hours, which allows it to survey thousands of square miles on a single mission. The UAS also boasts a host of sensor payloads, allowing military commanders to collect near real-time imagery while using radar to detect moving or stationary targets on the ground. Additionally, the system provides airborne communications and information sharing capabilities to military units in harsh environments.

“Global Hawk has set endurance records and displayed an unmatched record of safety while reducing per hour flight costs to half the cost of the manned alternative,” Mick Jaggers, vice president and program manager of Global Hawk at Northrop Grumman, said. “This milestone is especially meaningful as it comes just before the 15th anniversary of Global Hawk’s first deployment into the theater of operations following the tragic events of 9/11. We expect Global Hawk to continue to provide indispensable ISR information to our warfighters.”

Global Hawk has seen service on operational and humanitarian missions worldwide since its introduction, providing support during the Southern California wildfires, the Japanese tsunami, the Haitian earthquake and the Philippines’ typhoon. NASA utilizes the system to monitor environmental changes, tropical storm developments, and to provide groundbreaking approaches to high altitude atmospheric research.

HPN News Desk

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