Global Hawk sees decrease in cost per flight hour amidst increased operational tempo

Northrop Grumman RQ4 Global Hawk 112The U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) autonomous unmanned aircraft system (UAS) had another remarkable year in 2014, with a significant decrease in cost per flight hour coupled with a sharp increase in flight hours, Northrop Grumman announced March 4. The Global Hawk program has brought the system’s cost per flight hour down to the point of being half the cost of the manned alternative. The aircraft also saw close to a 40 percent increase in flight hours from 2013 to 2014.

Global Hawk also maintained a perfect safety record in FY14 after carrying the designation as the safest platform in the Air Force active inventory in 2013.

“As we move into 2015 and beyond, global security requires flexible systems and strategic agility. Global Hawk has proven again and again that it can bring unparalleled endurance, innovation and value to any mission,” said Mick Jaggers, director, Global Hawk, Northrop Grumman. “We are proud that, together with our Air Force partners, we are operating a very safe system that provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance [ISR] information effectively and efficiently when and where it is needed.”

Global Hawk variants have flown more than 140,000 flight hours in support of diverse missions. Carrying a variety of ISR sensor payloads, Global Hawk supports antiterrorism, antipiracy, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, airborne communications relay, information sharing, and the full range of operational combat missions.

Source: Northrop Grumman Corp.