Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Northrop increasing UAV production

Northrop Grumman plans to more than double production capacity for the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-4C Triton unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) to 12 aircraft per year in anticipation of growing demand for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. The manufacturer is adding production capacity to its Site 7 facilities in Palmdale, Calif. It will start production out of a recently remodeled building the week of Aug. 26, the company told FlightGlobal on a tour of the facilities on Aug. 20. The building is on the grounds of United States Air Force Plant 42 and was previously a manufacturing facility for the Northrop F-5 fighter. Northrop Grumman has lined up six customers for variants of its high altitude long endurance UAV: The U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force (USAF), NATO, South Korea, Japan and the Royal Australian Air Force. The company previously produced between three to five RQ-4 Global Hawk or MQ-4C Triton aircraft per year. Typically it takes 162 to 174 days to build the UAV: 150 days to build the fuselage in Moss Point, Miss. and 12 to 24 days for final assembly in Palmdale, the firm says. (Source: FlightGlobal, 08/22/19)