SAN DIEGO, Feb. 29, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial system (UAS), built by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), celebrated the 10th anniversary of its first flight on Feb. 28, 2008. On that date in 1998 the Global Hawk made history when it flew for one hour over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and climbed to an altitude of 32,000 feet.

"Today, this high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) system has logged more than 20,000 total program flight hours, of which more than 15,000 hours were flown in support of the global war on terrorism (GWOT)," said Jerry Madigan, Northrop Grumman vice president of HALE systems. "Its range, endurance and multi-sensor technology capabilities make it an ideal system to support homeland security objectives."

As the world's first fully autonomous HALE UAS providing persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to warfighters, the Global Hawk can fly up to 65,000 feet for more than 35 hours and see through any inclement weather at any time.

"The 9th Reconnaissance Wing (9RW) flies the RQ-4A in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. Global Hawk continues to prove its versatility and persistence by providing critical intelligence to Airmen, Marines and soldiers on the ground in the GWOT," said Brig. Gen. H. D. Polumbo Jr., commander of the 9RW at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., the Global Hawk's main operating base. "It is a combat-proven, strategic capability with the tactical flexibility to survey large geographic areas, whether supporting overseas military operations or domestic civil missions like last year's wildfires in Southern California. Beale Airmen are in the fight everyday using transformational remote split operations."

The Global Hawk industry team is comprised of world-class companies: Aurora Flight Sciences, Bridgeport, West Va. (V-tail assembly and other composite structures); L-3 Communications, Salt Lake City (communication system); Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, El Segundo, Calif. (integrated sensor suite); Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems, Falls Church, Va. (ground station); Rolls-Royce Corporation, Indianapolis, Ind. (engine); and Vought Aircraft Industries, Dallas (wing).

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $32 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

  CONTACT:  Gemma Loochkartt
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems
          (858) 618-4245 office
          (858) 335-0694 cell