Grand Forks-based Global Hawk Puts Aircraft’s Total Flights Over 200,000 Hour Mark

A Global Hawk based at Grand Forks Air Force Base helped its aircraft model hit more than 200,000 flight hours logged since it was rolled out for service nearly 15 years ago.

The high-altitude unmanned aircraft is utilized by the U.S. Air Force for intelligence gathering missions, with Global Hawks under the branch’s command accounting for 88 percent of the flight hours totaled, according to a news release.

The remaining hours were tallied by Global Hawks flying for NASA, the U.S. Navy and German

The aircraft is manufactured by Northrop Grumman Corp., which is headquartered in Falls Church, Va., but has local ties. The company is constructing a research and development facility at Grand Sky business park on Grand Forks Air Force Base.

In addition to military use, Global Hawks also have been deployed during natural disasters such as wildfires, tsunamis and earthquakes around the world. NASA also utilizes the aircraft for monitoring environmental conditions such as the development of a tropical storm.

The aircraft has the ability to reach altitudes of 60,000 feet and operate for more than 30 hours, the release said.