MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - The unmanned aircraft shot down by Iranian forces in the Middle East has ties to South Mississippi.
Northrop Grumman in Jackson County manufactures the fuselage for the RQ-4A Global Hawk aircrafts like the one shot down.
About 130 employees in Moss Point help build the fuselages for the drones. After the fuselages are constructed in Moss Point, they’re sent to California for final assembly.
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo released the following statement to WLOX concerning the construction of the drones:
“The Moss Point facility does play a role in the production of Global Hawk and several other military programs. I can’t confirm that this specific drone was built in Moss Point, but I can say that many of the unmanned Global Hawk systems used by the Navy are in part built in Mississippi. The men and women at Northrup Grumman play an essential role in bolstering our military’s readiness and capability, and I am very proud of the work that they do every day.”
The Global Hawks as they’re called are designed for strategic intelligence gathering. They can fly as high as 65,000 feet.
According to Northrup Grumman’s website:
The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is the premier provider of persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information. Able to fly at high altitudes for greater than 30 hours, Global Hawk is designed to gather near-real-time, high-resolution imagery of large areas of land in all types of weather – day or night. Beyond intelligence collection a portion of the Global Hawk fleet is engaged in supporting air and ground users with communications relay support. The EQ-4B Global Hawk carries the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) payload providing life-saving support to warfighters.
Global Hawk has amassed more than 250,000 flight hours with missions flown in support of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Africa, and the greater Asia-Pacific region. The system provides an affordable and flexible platform for multiple sensor payloads to be used together, delivering mission-critical information to various users around the world.
In active operation with the U.S. Air Force since 2001, Global Hawk sees potential threats to allow commanders to gain greater understanding of an area of interest. These same intelligence-gathering capabilities also allow civil authorities greater ability to respond to natural disasters, conduct search-and-rescue operations and gather weather and atmospheric data to help forecasters predict the paths of storms.