FAA Backlog Bumps Block 40 Global Hawk Delivery

The halt in funding and temporary shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration delayed delivery of the Air Force’s first Block 40 Global Hawk to Grand Forks, AFB, N.D. “That put a backlog in the [certificate of airworthiness] approvals,” explained Bill Walker, Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk business development director. The Block 40 flew with the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program suite for first time in late July and is scheduled for in-flight tests with the sensor this week. Although the Block 40 is still in testing and development is underway, Northrop had planned in July to begin delivering airframes to the Air Force for training. “As soon as the FAA gives the Air Force approval to fly … to Grand Forks, it will be there,” said Walker. Tasked with battlefield control and overhead surveillance, the “Block 40 is a new capability; it’s a different mission than just ISR,” said Walker, speaking at a remotely piloted aircraft conference in Washington, D.C., Aug. 16. Northrop Grumman is under contract for a total of 11 MP-RTIP configured Block 40s, all of which will operate from Grand Forks.