Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4 RangeHawks Embark on New Hypersonic Missile Testing Mission

Northrop Grumman RQ-4 RangeHawks embark on New Mission

The system will be reconfigured in order to meet the testing requirements.

Northrop Grumman said in a recent press release that the RQ-4 RangeHawk drone will be used in the near future to help the U.S. develop hypersonic missiles.

The newest frontier of the arms race is hypersonic missiles. Countries like Russia and North Korea claim to have demonstrated this technology successfully. The U.S. program for hypersonic missiles has had a few bumps, with repeated test failures. The U.S. Air Force announced last month that it had successfully tested its Air-launched Quick Response Weapon (ARRW), almost a year after Russian claims.

GRAND FORKS (N.D.) – August 24, 2022: Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE : NOC ) RQ-4 RangeHawk will support SkyRange’s U.S. Hypersonic Missile Flight Tests from its Grand Sky Facility near Grand Forks in North Dakota. SkyRange, the Department of Defense Test Resource Management Center (TRMC), is an unmanned, high-altitude mobile flight testing system that can be used for long-duration, responsive tests.

Block 20 and Block 30 RQ-4B Global Hawks are being transferred to TRMC for conversion into RangeHawks in support of SkyRange. The conversion will include advanced payloads that equip the aircraft to test hypersonic vehicles as well as other long-range weapons. RangeHawks offer over-the horizon altitudes, endurance, and flexibility that are essential for collecting telemetry, and other data, to monitor the vehicle while flight testing. The capacity to test hypersonic vehicles is increasing, which will help research and development in order to stay competitive on the global stage.

Jane Bishop, Northrop Grumman’s vice president and global manager of surveillance, said that the RQ-4 RangeHawks would support the new class of hypersonic weaponry and offer a combination in terms of range, endurance, and payload. These aircraft will continue to play a vital role in national security missions, while also allowing us to provide premier aircraft design and modification, operations, and sustainment to the Grand Forks area.