RQ-4A Global Hawk USAF Model
The Global Hawk (RQ-4) is a High-Altitude Long-Endurance Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) used by the U.S Air Force. On February 28 1998 Global Hawk made its first flight from Edwards Air Force Base CA. The uniquely designed aircraft is one of the primer intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance collection aircraft of the Iraq war. Capable of long endurance missions at 60 000 feet or above it provides extended coverage near-real-time multi-sensor support to the theater commander and his deployed forces. The integrated sensor suite consists of SAR EO and IR sensors. Each of the sensors provides wide area search imagery and a high-resolution spot mode. The radar also has a ground moving target indicator mode. The Hawk is a relatively large aircraft with a 116 foot wingspan 44 feet in length 26 000 pound take-off weight capable of 30 hour missions with a 3 000 nautical mile range. The Global Hawk is the first UAV to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to file its own flight plans and use civilian air corridors in the United States with no advance notice. This potentially paves the way for a revolution in unmanned flight including that of automatically piloted passenger airliners. The RQ-4A has already been used operationally during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.