Air Force News

Results of Global Hawk accident investigation board released

Released: 23 Dec 1999

by Sue Baker
Aeronautical Systems Center Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- The Air Force accident investigation board has released its results concerning the possible causes of the March 29 crash of Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle No. 2.

The mishap occurred when Global Hawk inadvertently received a test signal for flight termination from a test range on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., which was outside the frequency coordination zone in which the UAV's mission was being flown. This caused Global Hawk to go into a termination maneuver involving a pre-programmed, rolling, vertical descent from an altitude of 41,000 feet.

Global Hawk No. 2, valued at approximately $45 million, crashed at 10:14 a.m. PST at the South Range at China Lake Naval Weapons Center, Calif. When it crashed, there was no fire, and China Lake personnel secured the site.

"While this incident was unfortunate, and caused a temporary delay in our flight test program, we resumed flying May 18 from Edwards," said Col. Craig McPherson, director, Global Hawk System Office, Reconnaissance Systems Program Office at Aeronautical Systems Center here. "The flight termination approach for Global Hawk has now been modified to preclude the type of incident experienced on March 29."

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

Release of the accident report is the responsibility of Air Force Materiel Command's Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. Individuals requesting a copy of the report may contact the office by mail at the following address:

AFMC Office of Staff Judge Advocate
ATTN: General Law Division
4225 Logistics Ave, STE 23
WPAFB, OH 45433-5762


* Unmanned Air Vehicle Battlelab
* Aeronautical Systems Center
* Air Force Materiel Command
* Nellis AFB