Navy Global Hawk Test Team Deploys to Point Mugu

'N-1' the first RQ-4A Global Hawk for the US Navy takes off from Edwards AFB for its delivery flight to NAS Patuxent River 3/28/06
Photo: USAF / Chad Bellay

6/6/2008 - The Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (PMA-262) recently deployed 'N-1', the first of the US Navy's two demonstration RQ-4A Global Hawk unmanned aircraft, to NAS Point Mugu in California for continued testing.

'N-1' (BuNo 166509) was the first of two RQ-4A Global Hawk unmanned aircraft delivered to the US Navy to undergo testing in the Maritime Demonstration program. The acquisition was made through a US Air Force contract, then the aircraft were modified to meet Navy requirements.

Leaving Northrop's plant at Palmdale, CA, N-1 made its first short flight to Edwards AFB on October 6th, 2004, where it then underwent initial testing. On March 28th, 2006, the aircraft was flown cross-country to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, where it officially began its testing with the Navy. The responsibility of actual flight test for the Navy Global Hawks went to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron VX-20 based at Patuxent.

'N-2' (BuNo 166510) was the second RQ-4A built for the Navy. It too was initially tested at Edwards and eventually delivered to the Navy at Patuxent on December 6th, 2006. Both N-1 and N-2 are Block 10 versions of the Global Hawk.

During 2007, the USN RQ-4A test program made over 60 ISR experimentation flights totaling over 430 flight hours, and supported seven Naval strike group training and certification exercises, collecting 7,000 images in the process. The program also participated in two search-and-rescue missions off the coast of Virginia with the U.S. Coast Guard. On January 25th, 2008, the Maritime Demonstration program achieved 100 flights with the Global Hawk.

The demo program has now made its first full system deployment to NAS Point Mugu. From there the team will continue testing of the Navy's Global Hawk platform while utilizing the NavAir Pacific Test Range and extensive test facilities at Point Mugu. The Navy RQ-4A will also participate in the annual Trident Warrior and international Rim of the Pacific exercises.

Source: Jay Mc Kee / ŠThe North Spin

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