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Global Hawk Program Surpasses 500-Hour Mark

Global Hawk Program Surpasses 500-Hour Mark

By Sue Baker, Aeronautical Systems Center Public Affairs.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio (AFPN) 24 March 2000 -- Reaching a major flight test milestone, the Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle flew well past the 500-hour mark during the program's 43rd successful test sortie Mar. 17. The sortie was flown at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle No. 1 banks over the Mojave Desert after completing a test sortie at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. During the mission, the Global Hawk carried a wing rank device on its left wing to measure airflow pressure. (Photo by Sam Ameen, U.S. Air Force)

Global Hawk Air Vehicle No. 1 reached a maximum altitude of approximately 61,500 feet and flew for 5.8 hours, landing early due to forecasted high tailwinds, according to program manager Lt. Col. Pat Bolibrzuch, Reconnaissance Systems Program Office, Aeronautical Systems Center here.

"This was another engineering test mission to improve the flight performance of Global Hawk's single, 116-foot-long, composite wing," said Bolibrzuch. "We used a wing rake device, attached to the trailing edge, which measured the pressure of air flowing across the wing at 340 mph, as Global Hawk cruised at altitude. Our engineers will now compare that data to wind-tunnel figures, to improve Global Hawk's fuel efficiency and design of the production-model wing."

The milestone flight also included a functional check of the integrated sensor suite's synthetic aperture radar, as well as its ground moving target indicator, which tracks targets as they move on the ground, according to the colonel.

An advanced concept technology demonstration program, Global Hawk will provide the Air Force high-altitude, long endurance, battlefield reconnaissance imagery. When operational, it will be able to fly autonomously at altitudes greater than 60,000 feet and remain on station for more than 24 hours. Capable of surveying an area the size of Illinois (40,000 square miles), Global Hawk uses synthetic aperture radar, as well as electro-optical and infrared sensors to accomplish its pre-programmed, long-range missions.

Global Hawk is one of two UAVs currently under development and acquisition by ASC. Predator, a medium-altitude UAV, has already entered the Air Force acquisition process. The Predator UAV was used in Bosnia and Operation Allied Force in the skies above Kosovo.


** Aeronautical Systems Center

** Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.



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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).