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Aero-News has learned the second of two US Navy RQ-4A Global
Hawk Maritime Demonstration (GHMD) unmanned aircraft arrived on
December 6 at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, MD following an
11.1 hour flight. The aircraft flew from Edwards Air Force Base, CA
where it had been undergoing acceptance tests and supporting recent
Navy demonstrations over Hawaii.
The GHMD program is a pathfinder for a variety of Navy
objectives for its unmanned air system program. These include: the
development of maritime endurance unmanned aerial vehicle sensors;
concepts of operations; tactics, techniques, and procedures; and
Fleet integration with manned aircraft. Delivery of the second
vehicle marks the completion of GHMD's hardware delivery under the
low rate production and development contracts.
A derivative of the Northrop-Grumman RQ-4A produced for the Air
Force, each GHMD aircraft has a wingspan of 116 feet, a length of
44 feet, and a maximum weight of 25,600 lbs. Each aircraft can stay
aloft for over 30 hours, flying at altitudes up to 60,000 feet.
The Integrated Sensor Suite includes the legacy Air Force modes
of radar and a digital camera operating in both the visible light
and infrared wavelengths. GHMD also includes maritime modes of
Maritime Surveillance, Maritime Moving Target Indicator, Inverse
Synthetic Aperture Radar as well as 360 degree passive electronic
The first GHMD aircraft made its maiden flight in October 2004,
and arrived at its main operating base, NAS Patuxent River, in
March of 2006.
The Navy Global Hawk program is managed by the Navy and Marine
Corps Unmanned Air Systems program office, PMA-263, located at
Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD.