Northrop Grumman’s High Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aircraft System series, which includes the U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk, set a new record for mission hours flown in one week, logging 665 hours flying operational and exercise missions during the week ending Feb. 23.
In 2013, Global Hawk flew an average of 433.8 hours a week. The weekly record of 665 hours set in February 2014 is 53 percent above last year’s average. That is the equivalent of almost four Global Hawks in the air around the clock for an entire week.
The HALE UAS series have exceeded 110,000 total flight hours supporting diverse global missions. More than 87 percent of those missions were for the Air Force, others were for the U.S. Navy, NASA and other customers.
The system’s increased flight hours combined with stable support costs continue to drive down flight hour costs. The Air Force reported that for 2013, Global Hawk cost per hour was reduced almost 30 percent compared to 2012 and it continues to drop. The Air Force has 32 Global Hawks in service around the globe.
“Global Hawk is in operation today, setting performance records that are benefitting customers around the world,” said Mick Jaggers, Global Hawk UAS Program Director, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. “Effective, cost-efficient intelligence is in demand, and our teams deliver this to the Air Force, Navy, NASA and other customers every day.”