26 August 2014
The first completed Global Hawk has made history with its 100th flight in support of NASA environmental research.
The milestone occurred on a flight from Edwards Air Force Base in California more than 16 years after its first flight in 1998. The aircraft is now at Wallops Island for a two-month deployment to conduct hurricane research missions.
The aircraft, called AV1, was the first RQ-4 Global Hawk built under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator program. Ryan Aeronautical company built and tested the UAS, later acquired by Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC).
After completing production in February 1997, the aircraft underwent rigorous testing culminating in a successful first flight on Feb. 28, 1998. Due to restrictions preventing the aircraft from taking off in San Diego, the first flight required the Global Hawk to be disassembled and shipped in pieces to Edwards Air Force Base for reassembly and first flight.
While still a developmental system, Global Hawk began supporting overseas contingency operations only two months after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Global Hawks continue to support combat and other important operations all over the world.
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