SAN DIEGO, March 29, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) first RQ-4A Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration (GHMD) unmanned air vehicle has arrived at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Md., and is being prepared for participation in the U.S. Navy's Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment (JEFX) 2006.
JEFX is a worldwide training exercise to test current joint operations. The GHMD system will demonstrate unmanned long-endurance maritime surveillance for the Navy, the Department of Defense and Homeland Security agencies. JEFX will also test the system's ability to integrate and disseminate the maritime intelligence information across current naval information architectures.
"GHMD will be utilized to provide the fleet with a high-altitude, multi-sensor, long-endurance, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance collection capability for maritime concept of operations development," said Dave Seagle, the Navy's GHMD program manager. "The system performed very well for us during Trident Warrior '05, and we are eager to have the system participate in the JEFX during the latter part of April."
"Northrop Grumman worked tirelessly with the Navy to stand up the base at Patuxent River, which meant equipping the hangar with the necessary operational elements as well as training the Navy's Global Hawk crew," said Jerry Madigan, Northrop Grumman vice president for High-Altitude, Long-Endurance Systems. "The combat-proven Global Hawk system can now prove its value as a maritime surveillance asset to help keep our sailors safe on the open water and close to shore."
The Global Hawk air vehicle arrived at Naval Air Station Patuxent River on March 28, after flying from its test facility at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The fully autonomous flight was monitored from Global Hawk's launch and recovery element at Patuxent River.
Before the transcontinental flight, the Navy's two RQ-4A GHMD systems had been deemed safe for flight in national airspace by a military airworthiness certification issued by the U.S. Air Force, a first for an unmanned system. The Navy also secured an FAA certificate of authorization for East Coast operations and has issued a flight clearance letter for operations from Global Hawk's home operating base at Patuxent River.
"This flight clearance will allow the U.S. Navy to conduct routine flight operations with the GHMD system in and out of Patuxent River with manned aircraft," said Terry Barefoot, Northrop Grumman's GHMD program manager.
The Global Hawk system features an unmanned aerial vehicle that flies at altitudes over 60,000 feet above inclement weather and prevailing winds. Global Hawk can survey vast geographic regions with pinpoint accuracy.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With approximately 125,000 employees and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.