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Stamp Marks Milestone

Stamp Marks Milestone

Source: Royal Australian Air Force News, Canberra, May 2, 2001.

A commemorative postage stamp was launched in Canberra on 20 April to mark one of the latest milestones in world aviation - the Global Hawk's trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia.

Global Hawk, the world's most advanced high altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle departed the US for Australia on 21 April.

At the time of going to print, the world's most advanced high altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, Global Hawk, was expected to depart from Edwards Air Force Base, California on 21 April and fly non-stop to RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia. This unique, historic journey likely to take more than 22 hours.

At a joint news conference on the eve of the aircraft's departure, Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Errol McCormack and Dr Roger Lough, First Assistant Secretary Science Policy in Defence Science and Technology Organisation, announced 'all systems were go' for the journey.

AIRMSHL McCormack expressed his excitement that Australia has the opportunity to explore this new technology in the context of our regional needs. 'The Air Force is currently reviewing, as part of Project Air 6000, the replacements for F/A18 and F-111 fleets and it is highly possible that our future capability could well include UAVs such as Global Hawk,' he said.

He said Global Hawk's deployment to Australia is an integral part of combined US and Australian military training exercise, Tandem Thrust. AIRMSHL McCormack said the deployment also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the ANZUS Alliance between Australia and the United States and reinforces the strong defence links between the two countries.

Dr Lough said the deployment of the Global Hawk is an opportunity to examine new technologies in an Australian operating environment and test the performance of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for surveillance purposes.

'DSTO has assisted in developing new maritime and littoral surveillance capabilities that will allow Global Hawk to more efficiently search large areas to detect and classify maritime targets,' he said.

Speaking from Edinburgh, Air Force base, Lieutenant Colonel Lange said mission controllers and weather forecasters based on the ground in Australia and the United States would monitor the flight of the aircraft via satellite.

Global Hawk will be in Australia until 7 June for United States Air Force (USAF), RAAF and DSTO personnel to evaluate the aircraft and its systems during a dozen missions over various parts of the continent and maritime approaches. The missions will include sorties in support of Tandem Thrust military exercise of the eastern coast of Australia and over Australia's Top End from Cape York to the northwest coast including Darwin.

Global Hawk, developed by Northrop Grumman Ryan Aeronautical Centre, flies autonomously using on-board computers to take off and land automatically and manage all of its sub-systems throughout the mission.

The aircraft is jet-powered and, at 116 feet, its all-composite wing is 22 feet longer than a Boeing 737 wing. It has a range of 14,000 nautical miles and can fly at altitudes of up to 65,000 feet (19,812 metres) for more than 30 hours.

Global Hawk will feature in next month's edition of Air Force News.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).