Northrop Grumman Corporation has announced that it has successfully completed a flight control test of a NASA Global Hawk unmanned aerial system (UAS) from its facility at the Grand Sky UAS testing and training center near Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The Global Hawk UAS originally took off from NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Once the UAS was airborne, control was handed over to a team situated at NGC’s Transportable Operations Center in the company’s Grand Sky Mission Control Center. The team executed a series of flight maneuvers in order to demonstrate operational performance of the facility. This test marks the first time that an in-flight control operation has been conducted from the facility. The Global Hawk landed again at AFRC.
NGC’s Grand Sky facility is a multipurpose hub, serving as a research and development capability and a pilot, operator and maintainer training center, as well as hosting operations and mission analysis and aircraft maintenance. A hangar adjoining the facility is currently under construction, and will take advantage of Grand Sky’s access to the adjacent Grand Forks Air Force Base, home to the RQ-4 Global Hawk high altitude, long endurance UAS.
Kristen Griffin, strategy director of autonomous systems at Northrop Grumman, commented: “The ability to conduct flight operations shows the capability of the Grand Sky team to provide full command and control from our facility. In the near future, we expect to provide full flight test capability to support our government and commercial customers. The important work performed at Grand Sky supports the evolving needs of our customers while advancing research and development of our autonomous systems capabilities for today and the future.”