Grumman Global Hawk

The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, remotely-piloted surveillance aircraft of the 1990s–2020s. It was initially designed by Ryan Aeronautical (now part of Northrop Grumman), and known as Tier II+ during development. The RQ-4 provides a broad overview and systematic surveillance using high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors with long loiter times over target areas. It can survey as much as 40,000 square miles (100,000 km2) of terrain per day, an area the size of South Korea or Iceland.

The Global Hawk is operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). It is used as a high-altitude long endurance (HALE) platform[2] covering the spectrum of intelligence collection capability to support forces in worldwide military operations. According to the USAF, the superior surveillance capabilities of the aircraft allow more precise weapons targeting and better protection of friendly forces.

Northrop Grumman entered a RQ-4B variant in the US Navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV competition. On 22 April 2008, it was announced that Northrop Grumman's RQ-4N had won and that the Navy had awarded a US$1.16 billion contract.[17] In September 2010, the RQ-4N was officially designated the MQ-4C.[18]

The Navy MQ-4C differs from the Air Force RQ-4 mainly in its wing. While the Global Hawk remains at high altitude to conduct surveillance, the Triton climbs to 50,000 ft (15,000 m) to see a wide area and can drop to 10,000 ft (3,000 m) to get further identification of a target. The Triton's wings are specially designed to take the stresses of rapidly decreasing altitude. Though similar in appearance to the Global Hawk's wings, the Triton's internal wing structure is much stronger and has additional features including anti-icing capabilities and impact and lightning strike protection.

In December 2007, two Global Hawks were transferred from the USAF to NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB. Initial research activities beginning in the second quarter of 2009 supported NASA's high-altitude, long-duration Earth science missions.

In 2009, NATO announced that it expected to have a fleet of up to eight Global Hawks by 2012 to be equipped with MP-RTIP radar systems. 

Global Hawk Bundle

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