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First Production RQ-4A Global Hawk at Beale AFB (Read 1216 times)
 
Roger Whitcomb
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First Production RQ-4A Global Hawk at Beale AFB
Nov 26th, 2004 at 2:10am
 
Global Hawk Moves North Unmanned Plane to Stay at Beale

The Air Force's first production RQ-4A Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance plane has arrived at its new home at Beale Air Force Base in Northern California.

Designated AF-3, the unmanned aerial vehicle arrived after a flight from Edwards Air Force Base.

Northrop Grumman's Palmdale plant assembles Global Hawks for the U.S. Air Force.

Beale's 9th Reconnaissance Wing had been operating pre-production Global Hawks in Iraq and Afghanistan while testing continued at Edwards.

"For quite some time, our pilots and sensor operators have been operating the system in theater from half a world away," said Col. Larry Wells, commander of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base.

The plane's arrival at Beale symbolizes the Global Hawk's transition from a development program to an operational system, said Carl O. Johnson, Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk vice president and integrated product team leader.

AF-3's arrival at Beale followed the first flight of N-1, the first Global Hawk for the U.S. Navy. N-1 is in testing at Edwards Air Force Base. It will go to Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland next summer to prepare for the Navy's Global Hawk maritime demonstration scheduled to begin in mid-2005.

The company recently began production of a larger Global Hawk, designated the RQ-4B, at its Antelope Valley Manufacturing Center in Palmdale.

Compared with the RQ-4A, the RQ-4B features a larger wingspan, a longer fuselage and an electrical generator that can deliver 150 percent more power. The larger size and power enable it to carry more sensors.

Northrop Grumman plans to deliver the first three RQ-4B air vehicles in 2006.
  Smiley

Source: Daily News (Los Angeles) (23rd November, 2004)
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