Bold: Smart Risks Amidst Fluid Futures

Royal A. Gardner is the director, High Altitude, Long-Endurance (HALE) Program’s Production integrated product team, at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, a premier provider of manned and unmanned aircraft, space systems and advanced technologies critical to our nation’s security.

In this role, Gardner directs all aspects of the HALE Enterprise Production IPT. He provides the leadership and direction for all variants of the Global Hawk build, test and delivery across all related production sites, including Moss Point, Miss., San Diego, Calif., Newtown, ND, and Palmdale, Calif. He integrates the disciplines across the various IPTs (Engineering, Global Supply Chain, Quality, software, payloads, ground segments, etc.) to ensure the timely delivery of high quality, affordable products to both domestic and international customers.

Gardner has more than 30 years of experience in the aerospace/aeronautical industry, having served in a variety of positions, including Manufacturing Operations, Quality Assurance, Flight Test, Cost Management and Project/Program Management to Engineering Integration. Most recently, he served as Air Vehicle IPT lead for HALE in San Diego, Calif.

He began his aerospace career as an Airframe and Power Plant mechanic on Lockheed’s Skunkworks F117 program in Burbank, Calif., and progressed to the Quality Assurance organization. After several years, Gardner left Lockheed and took a position with the Rockwell International Corporation as a technical trainer and writer. There, he developed and instructed courses in quality techniques and systems knowledge on the B-1B program in El Segundo, Calif. Gardner later joined Northrop Grumman as the Quality Engineering manager on the B-2 Stealth Bomber program, and eventually led its Program Integration Organization. There, he was responsible for the programmatic integration of SatCom, Link-16 and AHF coatings onto the B-2. His experiences there led to the leadership and integration of the Air Vehicle and Production disciplines for the Global Hawk UMS. He was responsible for the on-time delivery of high quality UMS aircrafts and sensors to the United States Air Force and eventually to international customers.

Gardner earned his Bachelor of Science in business administration and Master of Business Administration from the University of La Verne. He also holds a Master of Science in systems management from the University of Southern California and a doctorate in organizational leadership. He completed several management programs, and is a graduate of the Northrop Grumman Program Management Conference.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cybersecurity, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit for more information.


Director, HALE Enterprise Production Integrated Product Team, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems