San Diego Business Journal

Northrop Grumman Honored With Prestigious Aviation Award

By Brad Graves Thursday, May 29, 2014

Northrop Grumman Corp.’s workforce basked in an honor and achieved a record recently.

The corporation’s Rancho Bernardo office was the brains behind the X-47B aircraft, the first full-size drone to take off from — and return to — an aircraft carrier.

The National Aeronautic Association was scheduled to award aviation’s highest honor, the Robert J. Collier trophy, to the company and the U.S. Navy in ceremonies May 29 at Reagan Washington National Airport. The X-47B was expected to be on display in the Virginia airport’s Historic Hangar 7.

Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) manages its unmanned programs and works out their software code in Rancho Bernardo.

The Rancho Bernardo crew is also the brains behind the Global Hawk high altitude reconnaissance drone — originally a product of San Diego-based Teledyne Ryan.

Northrop Grumman revealed earlier this month that Global Hawks flew a record 665 hours during a single week in February. That number is a few hours shy of having four Global Hawks in the air around the clock for an entire week. It is 53 percent above the average weekly flight hours for 2013.

A single aircraft can stay in the air for upward of 32 hours, according to publicly available information.

The team behind Global Hawk received the Collier Trophy in 2000.