Northrop Grumman has gone on the front foot in promoting its Global Hawk program following recent criticism of the program by USAF acquisitions head, David Van Buren. With the program due to go before the US Defense Acquisitions Board (DAB) review this week, Northrop Grumman has released a statement outlining the program’s successes in recent years.
“Global Hawk is performing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s conducting combat and civil missions around the world, while at the same time the Air Force is putting it through test and evaluation paces here at home to vet the system for final production. Global Hawk is performing well in these tests,” Gary Ervin, president of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems said. “Its unprecedented performance proves its value to our customers every day with a 95 per cent on-station record, low sustainment and operating costs and high value intelligence. Frankly, it outperforms any other high altitude … reconnaissance and intelligence system in theatre today. It’s in a class of its own.”
Eleven Global Hawks have been delivered to the USAF to date, two of which were concept demonstration aircraft pressed into service at short notice following the September 11 terror attacks and which have since been transferred to NASA. The fleet has flown 1665 combat sorties over 33,280 hours and collected more than 606,000 images.
“With the current needs and demands for Global Hawk, Northrop Grumman and its industry team continue to execute the current program as expected by our customers, while answering new requests for Global Hawk support as quickly as possible and at the most economical cost to our customer,” added George Guerra, vice president and program manager for Northrop Grumman’s High Altitude, Long Endurance programs. “Meeting customer demand is a hallmark of our company’s stellar culture of performance. We recognise that our suppliers around the country are also a pivotal force in reaching that objective.”