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RQ-4B Global Hawk  
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): December 2007
Maiden Flight: 1 March 2007
Total Production: 9
Unitary Cost: USD$68 million
Also Known As: EQ-4B and RQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk
Origin: United States of America
Corporations: L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman* and Raytheon   (*) lead contractor
Parent System: RQ-4 Global Hawk
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): November 2001
Maiden Flight: 28 February 1998
Total Production: 125
Total Cost: USD$28 billion
Family Members: Block 30M RQ-4B Global Hawk, Euro Hawk, MQ-4C BAMS Triton, RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk, RQ-4 Block 40 Global Hawk and RQ-4A Global Hawk
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Description: The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft with an integrated sensor suite that provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities all over the world. The RQ-4 program was developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) by Northrop Grumman in the 1990s and will eventually replace the venerable U-2 manned reconnaissance aircraft. The program started as an advanced concept technology demonstrator (ACTD) in 1995 with the aim to deliver an all-weather, day/night, wide-area surveillance system. The first aircraft was delivered to the USAF in November 2001 to support the Global War on Terror (GWOT) with the RQ-4 system reaching full operational capability by 2012. USAF plans call for the procurement of 77 aircraft (cut down to 66 aircraft in 2011) with the US Navy to procure an undisclosed number of RQ-4Ns beginning in 2014. Germany is the first export customer with five Euro Hawks on order.

The Global Hawk system consists of the RQ-4 air vehicle; mission control element (MCE) with two workstations for a pilot and a sensor operator crew; launch and recovery element (LRE) also operated by pilot with his workstation acting as the cockpit; a wide variety of sensors; command and control links covering health and status of the aircraft, sensors, navigational systems and communication links; support element; and trained personnel. The Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) sensors include synthetic aperture radar, electro-optical and medium-wave infrared sensors, and active electronically scanned array radar. The system offers a wide variety of employment options. The long range and endurance of this system allow tremendous flexibility in meeting mission requirements. In the United States Department of Defense (DoD) parlance 'R' refers to Reconnaissance and 'Q' refers to unmanned aircraft system.

The RQ-4B Global Hawk, or Global Hawk Block 20, is an improved version of the proven RQ-4A Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The B model is bigger and heavier with a 50 percent increase in payload capacity from 2,000-lb to 3,000-lb and operates with two-and-a-half times the electrical power than the Block 10. In addition to the ISS electro-optical sensors integrated onto the RQ-4A, the RQ-4B will be able to accommodate SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) payloads for enhanced ISR capabilities as well as the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) radar system and future payloads while retaining A-model performance. Nevertheless, the B model falls behind the RQ-4A in terms of speed and range.

On 12 July 2005, the US Air Force awarded Northrop-Grumman Global Hawk low rate initial production Lot 4 contract valued at $273 million for four RQ-4B Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), enhanced sensor suites, one mission control element, one launch recovery element, support equipment and spares. The items deliveries were expected to be completed by July 2008. In November 2005 the USAF awarded Northrop-Grumman a $60 million contract to begin production on five RQ-4B Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Systems with vehicles assembly expected to start in early 2006. The first production Block 20 aircraft carried out its maiden flight on March 1, 2007.

RQ-4B Global Hawk Specifications

Aircrew: 3
Crew: 0
Number of Engines: 1
Height: 15.3 foot (4,663 millimeter)
Length: 48 foot (14,508 millimeter)
Wingspan: 131 foot (39.9 meter)
Max Range: 8,700 (4.70 nautical mile)
Ceiling: 60,000 foot (18,288 meter)
Top Speed at High Altitude: 310 knot (574 kph)
Flight Endurance: 36 hour (1.50 day)
Empty Weight: 14,950 pound (6.78 ton)
Fuel Load: 17,300 pound (7.85 ton)
Max Takeoff Thrust: 7,600 pound (3,447 kilogram)
Max Takeoff Weight: 32,250 pound (14.6 ton)
Payload: 3,000 pound (1.36 ton)
CEP: Circular Error Probable
Meters (m)   Kilometers (km)   Nautic Miles (nm)   Inch (in)   Yard (yd)   Foot (ft)   Millimeter (mm)
Pound (lb)   Kilogram (kg)   kN (KiloNewton)   Ton (t)
Meters per Second (mps)   Kilometers per Hour (kph)   Knot (kt)   Miles per Hour (mph)
Liter (l)   Galon (gl)
Year (yr)   Minutes (min)   Second (sec)
Shaft-Horse-Power (shp)

RQ-4B Global Hawk News

There are 18 news between
15 Sep 2003 and 19 Jul 2018
1  2  
Thursday, July 19, 2018First BACN-Equipped EQ-4B Global Hawk Delivered to US Air Force
Thursday, March 23, 2017US Air Force BACN Completes 10,000 Combat Missions
Wednesday, October 28, 2015US Air Force Awards Raytheon a Contract for ISR Mission Support
Tuesday, August 26, 2014RQ-4 Global Hawk Demonstrates MP-RTIP Sensor Expanded Mission Capabilities
Tuesday, October 23, 2012Northrop Grumman Delivers New BACN-Equipped Global Hawk to Air Force Ahead of Schedule
Monday, July 23, 2012Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract for Continuing BACN Mission Support
Monday, January 30, 2012Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract for Integration of Battlefield Airborne Communications Node on Global Hawks
Thursday, November 3, 2011US Air Force Officially Designates Aircraft Flying Battlefield Airborne Communications Node System
Tuesday, July 14, 2009Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract to Field Battlefield Airborne Communications Node
Wednesday, January 28, 2009US Air Force Awards Northrop Grumman Contract for Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft Sustainment

Operators & Related Equipment

United States of America9
201533RQ-4B (30) and EQ-4B (3)
Jan 20139
Oct 20083

Grand Total 91
Propulsion Systems
AE 3007Hx1
Protection Systems
Sensor Systems
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