Two Global Hawk
unmanned aircraft have flown in close formation at distances as close as 30 feet (9 m) for the first time. The series of flights took place between January 11 and May 30 this year and marked a major milestone on the way to demonstrating the first autonomous aerial refueling between two unmanned, high-altitude aircraft as part of DARPA’s Autonomous High-Altitude Refueling (AHR) program.
There’s only so much that we can learn about hurricanes by looking at them from the ground, or by observing them using distant satellites. Aircraft, on the other hand, give researchers an aerial view of the weather systems, while also allowing for direct measurements of variables such as temperature and humidity – the one catch is, would you
want to be in a plane that was circling over a hurricane? Probably not. That’s one of the reasons why NASA is using Global Hawk
UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to study hurricanes off the east coast of the U.S.
Northrop Grumman's Block 40 Global Hawk
has new eyes. The unmanned aircraft completed its first full system flight carrying the production version of the next-gen Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) sensor at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on July 21.
, Northrop Grumman’s sophisticated unmanned high altitude surveillance aircraft is finding its niche in unexpected areas. In April, 2010, in consort with NASA, a Global Hawk fitted with scientific instruments completed 82.5 flight hours cruising at latitudes ranging from the Arctic Circle to just near the equator as part of an ongoing civilian research program known as GloPac, or Global Hawk Pacific Program, which aims to study atmospheric conditions over the Pacific and Arctic oceans.
The first of the next generation of Northrop Grumman’s Block 40 configuration RQ-4 Global Hawk
has successfully completed its first flight. The two hour flight took the aircraft from Northrop Grumman’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale, California to Edwards Air Force Base, California. Designated AF-18, the Block 40 configuration of the high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) will carry the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) active electronically scanned array radar that will help warfighters detect, track and identify stationary and moving targets.
March 28, 2008 Northrop Grumman
Corporation's RQ-4 Global Hawk
has successfully completed a flight lasting 33.1 hours at altitudes up to 60,000. While the milestone does not match the 54 hour flight achieved by QinetiQ’s Zephyr
in 2007, it is a record for a full-scale, operational unmanned aircraft
- and there was still fuel left in the tank.
November 11, 2005 The Global Hawk UAV was still in its development stages when the needs of the war in Afghanistan saw it pressed into service. Since then, Global Hawk has successfully completed more than 225 missions through three deployments and more than 4,900 combat flight hours. Now the aircraft has been redesigned to carry 50% more payload, so the Air Force can install additional sensors, enhancing its ability to simultaneously collect imagery, signals intelligence and infrared and radar information, and transfer it to the warfighting machine in near-real time. Global Hawk flies autonomously at an altitude of more than 60,000 feet, above inclement weather and prevailing winds, for 35+ hours at a time. During a single mission, it can provide detailed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information in near-real time over 40,000 square miles - approximately the size of Illinois.