Pentagon cancels Global Hawk Block 30 programme
The US Department of Defence (DOD) has announced that it is planning to cancel the Global Hawk 30 programme in favour of the Lockheed Martin U-2 aircraft. The DOD made the announcement as part of a spending review on 26 January 2012.
The change will see the Block 30 programme capped at a total of 21 aircraft, fourteen of which have already been delivered. The US Air Force (USAF) was previously on target to receive another ten aircraft under the existing project.
Northrop Grumman released a statement on the news, saying, ‘Northrop Grumman is disappointed with the Pentagon's decision, and plans to work with the Pentagon to assess alternatives to program termination.
‘The Global Hawk program has demonstrated its utility in US military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, as well as its utility in humanitarian operations in Japan and Haiti. Just a few months ago, the Pentagon published an acquisition decision memorandum regarding Global Hawk Block 30 that stated: 'The continuation of the program is essential to the national security... there are no alternatives to the program which will provide acceptable capability to meet the joint military requirement at less cost.'
‘Global Hawk is the modern solution to providing surveillance. It provides long duration persistent surveillance, and collects information using multiple sensors on the platform. In contrast, the aging U-2 program, first introduced in the 1950s, places pilots in danger, has limited flight duration, and provides limited sensor capacity. Extending the U-2's service life also represents additional investment requirements for that program.
‘Northrop Grumman is committed to working with our customers to provide the best solutions for our country and our allies. We are pleased with the continuing support for the Global Hawk Block 40 system, as well as for the Navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance system and our other unmanned systems.’
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