Photo courtesy Northrop Grumman Corp.

Photo courtesy Northrop Grumman Corp.

Aircraft from Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Global Hawk family of unmanned, high-altitude jets recently passed the 100,000-hour mark doing what they were built for: combat and related operational support.

Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) made the announcement Aug. 27.

U.S. Air Force Global Hawks flew 88 percent of the hours, while the U.S. Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance demonstrator flew the balance of the time. The Navy now calls the aircraft Triton.

Both programs are based in Rancho Bernardo. The defense contractor builds the aircraft in Palmdale.

Flying 11 miles above a war zone, the aircraft serves as a spy plane or as a communications relay.