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The four-hour flight was flawless, adding to a long list of accomplishments for the U.S. Air Force's Global Hawk. Northrop Grumman is the Air Force's Global Hawk prime contractor.
"The first flight of AF-3 is a significant milestone for Global Hawk because it will be the first air vehicle from Lot 2 to be delivered to the Air Force with several combat-proven upgrades integrated into the system," said Carl O. Johnson, Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk vice president and integrated product team leader.
The RQ-4B will accommodate a 50 percent increase in payload weight, and will feature a larger wingspan (130.9 feet), a longer fuselage (47.6 feet) and a new generator that can deliver 150 percent more electrical power. Northrop Grumman plans to deliver the first three RQ-4B air vehicles in 2006 as part of LRIP Lot 3.