by Al Brown, The Chicago Times
December 16, 2021
SAN DIEGO — Northrop Grumman Corporation announced on December 13 that it will assist the Department of Defense Test Resource Management Center (TRMC) in starting engineering and planning work to reconfigure four US Air Force EQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk aircraft for use in the SkyRange fleet of testing vehicles.
The SkyRange program will outfit four high-altitude, long-endurance EQ-4 aircraft with sensors in order to demonstrate an alternative data collection support system for testing US hypersonic systems. The Block 20 jets are expected to be modified at Northrop Grumman’s Grand Sky facility near Grand Forks, North Dakota.
“The SkyRange program takes advantage of Global Hawk’s inherent strengths – altitude, persistence, payload, and flexibility. Grand Sky’s high-tech facility, which includes a modern 35,000-square-foot hangar, is the ideal location for engineering modifications to Global Hawk in support of the SkyRange program.” said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, global surveillance, Northrop Grumman.
Global Hawk is now the premier autonomous, high-altitude, long-endurance ISR platform for the United States Air Force and international partners. Global Hawk is receiving ground station, cyber resiliency, and mission planning upgrades to meet future operational needs, allowing it to deliver intelligence to Combatant Commanders and perform new missions without putting personnel in danger.