The Big UAV Rolls Out

Northrop Grumman has unveiled the first production version of the next generation Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle—the Block 20 RQ-4B. The new version of the high-flying—and much in demand—UAV has to go through a series of final systems tests and a flight test program at Edwards AFB, Calif., before it goes to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, Calif. At a ceremony Aug. 25 at Northrop’s Antelope Valley Manufacturing Center in Palmdale, Calif., US Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) noted that USAF has been operating earlier Global Hawk UAVs “in combat today in ways never imagined.” The Block 20 greatly surpasses the Block 10 in payload-hauling capability and power.