Air Force News

Global Hawk UAV resumes active flight-test program

Released: 4 Jun 1999

by Sue Baker
Aeronautical Systems Center Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle No. 1 resumed active flight testing on May 18 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., following reinstatement of its flig ht certification on May l7 by a safety review board there.

An Air Force investigation continues into the cause of a March 29 crash of Global Hawk Air Vehicle No. 2. However, with release of an Air Force accident investigation board report by Air Force Materiel Command officials expected soon, both the Federal Aviation Administration and the service have determined conclusively that Global Hawk is safe to fly.

"It's good to get back in the air again, after having not flown in a month and a half," said Lt. Col. Pat Bolibrzuch, Global Hawk program manager. "This was a short sortie (7.8 hours) in which we wanted to check out the basic aircraft subsystems before the integration of synthetic aperture radar into the aircraft later in the month.

"All subsystems checked out and we are well on our way to supporting Roving Sands, our first operational exercise, at Nellis AFB, Nev., on June 19," Bolibrzuch explained. "We expect to complete at least two more test flights before participating in the first of 13 joint exercises for Global Hawk planned for the next 13 months, through June of 2000, to assess its potential for use by U.S. military forces."

During the demonstrations, Global Hawk will be put through its paces, Bolibrzuch said.

"We will interact with joint, simulated and real operational systems in a true battlespace environment -- one that will highlight this system's outstanding reconnaissance capabilities. Roving Sands is just the beginning of what we hope will be a very successful series of field exercises to show that Global Hawk deserves a permanent niche in the military inventory."

A developmental flight vehicle under the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration Program, Global Hawk will provide Air Force and other joint-service commanders high-altitude, long-endurance battlefield reconnaissance imagery in near-real time. When operational, Global Hawk will be able to fly autonomously at altitudes greater than 60,000 feet and remain on station for more than 24 hours.