Global Hawks Soaring in Ops… And Costs

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RQ-4: High flight(click to view full) DID has covered the US military’s RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance UAVs, which can cruise at 65,000 feet for 32 hours and cover thousands of miles in the process. Forecast International notes that 7 Global Hawks have been delivered, 17 are in various stages of production, at least 2 have been lost in crashes, and 2 more are on loan to the Navy for experiments. Over 5,400 combat hours have been flown, and foreign interest is also high. NATO is looking at Global Hawk as part of its AGS battlefield surveillance project in combination with a JSTARS-like Arbus 319, and there has even been talk of setting up a multinational “Pacific Pool” of Global Hawks along similar lines to NATO’s E-3 AWACS program. As the Pentagon looks to retire its U-2 fleet, this UAV’s operational role and importance will only increase. DID discusses a $60 million contract that was just issued for the RQ-B Global Hawk, whose 131-foot wingspan and larger size give it an extra 5,00 pounds of payload capacity vs. the 116-foot A model. We also point to a National Defense Magazine article that raises questions about the program’s costs and accounting. RQ-4A […]

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