New Global Hawks delivered to USAF
Northrop Grumman announced on 7 January that it has delivered two Global Hawk unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs) to the US Air Force (USAF). The aircraft, which were delivered ahead of schedule in late November, will be used to allow military commanders to receive high-resolution imagery, survey vast geographic regions and pinpoint targets on the ground.
A total of three new Global Hawks were delivered to the USAF in 2012, bringing the total Global Hawk fleet to 37 aircraft. Five previously delivered systems also underwent the installation of additional sensors that will allow the gathering of multiple types of intelligence data during a single mission.
Global Hawk carries a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensor payloads that allow military commanders to gather imagery and use radar to detect moving or stationary targets on the ground. The system also provides airborne communications and information sharing capabilities to military units in harsh environments. The system has a 12,300 nautical mile range, making it suited for many different ISR missions.
George Guerra, vice president for Global Hawk unmanned aircraft systems, said: ‘Global Hawk's ability to fly more than 30 hours at high altitudes while gathering multiple types of intelligence data makes it extremely valuable to field commanders who need near real-time information. These new aircraft add to that capability.’
Northrop Grumman said that Global Hawk has logged more than 80,000 flight hours and has been used over battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The UAV system has also supported intelligence gathering and reconnaissance efforts following the devastating earthquakes that struck Haiti and Japan.
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