3/8/2007 - EDWARDS AFB, CA -- Edwards welcomed the
first production RQ-4 Block-20 Global Hawk from U.S.
Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., on March 1 to
begin 18 months of testing here.
The Block-20 is the first of a new series of Global
Hawks including Blocks 30 and 40.
"It is an exciting day for the Air Force, the
Northrop Grumman team and all the folks who have
brought this day to pass," said Lt. Col. Douglas
Jaquish, 452nd Flight Test Squadron commander. "We are
excited to have Block 20 at Edwards, and we are
looking forward to the testing that will take place in
the next few months to get this new aircraft ready for
The event was a culmination of planning by the Global
Vigilance Combined Test Force and Northrop Grumman
Integrated Systems, said Anthony Kaiser, Global Hawk
Flight Test project manager.
"The entire team is preparing to move forward for the
combined developmental and operational flight tests
scheduled to begin late May to early June," Mr. Kaiser
The developmental testing proves the hardware and
software for safe flight and assures the aircraft
meets the contract specifications, while operational
testing verifies the use of the Block-20 in
representative operational scenarios, said James
Payne, Global Hawk Flight Test Northrop Grumman site
The Block-20 variant is significantly larger than its
Block-10 predecessor, Mr. Kaiser said. It has a
130.9-foot wingspan, which is 15 feet greater than
Block-10s. The fuselage was also redesigned and
strengthened to accommodate a 3,000-pound payload
capacity, an increase of 1,000 pounds from the
The Block-20's length is 47.6 feet, an increase from
the Block-10 variant's 44.4 feet.
Two of the planned larger payloads are the aircraft's
Advanced Signals Intelligence Payload and the
Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program, he
The Global Vigilance Combined Test Force is composed
of maintainers, engineers, pilots and project managers
from 452nd FLTS, 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron,
Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center and
the Northrop Grumman Corporation.
Source: USAF Edwards AFB by Airman 1st Class
Julius Delos Reyes