Northrop Grumman officials are quick to establish that the now-mainstream moniker UAV does not necessarily mean small. The maker of USAF’s Global Hawk—the Air Force’s next generation high-altitude unmanned intelligence- surveillance-reconnaissance aircraft—pointed out to reporters Monday at AFA’s Air & Space Conference that Global Hawk’s wingspan approximates that of a Boeing 737. George Guerra, Northrop’s Air Force Global Hawk program director, says the last two Block 10 models now are coming off the production line and moving into the more advanced Block 20, following some restructuring to sort out early cost overruns and delays. The first Block 20 is slated to perform taxi tests on the runway at Edwards AFB, Calif. this week and to take flight by years’ end.
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.