Northrop Grumman anticipates starting flight testing the Block 30 high-flying Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle before year’s end, so said Bill Walker, Northrop Grumman’s business and development manager for Global Hawk, Tuesday during AFA’s Air & Space Conference. He expects operational test and evaluation of the Block 30 version with the U-2 spyplane’s signals intelligence capability to begin in 2008. And, the Block 40 version would begin flight testing next summer. Walker noted that the company already had delivered four Block 20 versions to the Air Force and had two more on the way. He said that the North Dakota Air National Guard is slated to receive the Block 40 version.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.