SAN DIEGO, March 27, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) recently celebrated the on-time delivery of the first Mississippi-built center fuselage of a RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk unmanned aerial system at a ceremony at its Unmanned Systems Center manufacturing facility in Moss Point, Miss.
The delivery is a significant milestone for the Global Hawk program, marking progress of the manufacturing and assembly of the first Block 30 variant, which will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force later this year.
"The first Block 30 Global Hawk is coming alive in front of our very eyes and I am honored to be a part of this great day celebrating the hard work and achievements of our employees in Mississippi and California," said Jerry Madigan, Northrop Grumman vice president for the High Altitude Long Endurance Systems. "The Global Hawk program has been on cost and on schedule for 15 consecutive months, validating our commitment and focus on quality, cost, delivery and technical excellence, which are essential to meeting or exceeding our customers and shareholders' expectations."
Attended by several local and government representatives, the ceremony also commemorated the first jig load of a Block 40 air vehicle equipped with the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program sensor payload. Block 30 aircraft will be equipped with the enhanced integrated sensor suites and Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload designed to locate and identify radar and other types of electronics and communications signals.
"Northrop Grumman's presence is a blessing for Moss Point and Jackson County," said Moss Point Mayor Xavier Bishop. "This delivery shows their steadfastness in helping the local community continue to thrive and reinforces our position as an ideal location for aerospace development and investment."
George Freeland, executive director of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation added, "We are proud to support this important event from this state-of-the-art facility, which epitomizes world-class unmanned aircraft production in the Gulf Coast region. Not only does the Unmanned Systems Center produce cutting-edge products, but it also provides high-paying, high-technology jobs."
Global Hawk's fuselage consists of three sections -- forward, mid and aft -- which are built and mated in Moss Point then shipped to the primary production facility in Palmdale, Calif., for final assembly and testing. Of the 54 Global Hawks planned for production, all seven Block 10 air vehicles have been completed and delivered to the Air Force. There are currently four Global Hawks in Moss Point and seven in Palmdale in various stages of production.
To date, a 23 people support the Global Hawk program in Moss Point, with more than 40 others supporting the Navy and Army MQ-8B Fire Scout and the Army RQ-5 Hunter unmanned aerial vehicle programs. At full-production rate, the plant will be able to support the build of three Global Hawk fuselages simultaneously. The production capacity can be expanded according to customer demand.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk provides faultless intelligence, flies at altitudes up to 65,000 feet and surveys vast geographic regions with pinpoint accuracy, taking thousands of images in one mission. Its 12,000 nautical mile range and 35-hour endurance, together with satellite and line-of-sight communication links to the ground system, allow for operations worldwide.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 122,000 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 email@example.com