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USAF “unhappy” with Global Hawk program

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 21, 2010
A USAF Global Hawk. (USAF)

USAF acquisitions head David Van Buren has described as “unhappy” his feelings towards the management of his service’s Northrop Grumman Global Hawk UAS program, adding that the pace at which the system was maturing and proposals were being submitted was “excruciating.”

“Testing and delivery has been slower than expected,” Van Buren told journalists when describing the Block 30 version of the aircraft. “I am not happy with the pace of that program and we are not happy with the cost of the air vehicle.”

A Northrop Grumman spokesman dismissed many of the claims, telling the DoD Buzz website that the company had delivered “cost reductions on Global Hawk’s block 20, 30 and 40 systems and the associated payloads…” and that “…overall cost of the air vehicle and the sensors is trending down, as the company predicted and expected.” But he conceded there had been “…cost spikes within production lots due to the quantity procured within each lot.”

Van Buren said a cost review had been ordered and was due to report by the fourth quarter.

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