Global Hawk UAV welcomed home after three-year deployment
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- After supporting the Global War on Terror for three years, Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle No. 3 (UAV-3) received its official homecoming today when its wheels touched down at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
(PressZoom) - During its overseas deployment, UAV-3 logged more than 4,800 flight hours supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and the Combined Task Force—Horn of Africa.
On hand at the homecoming event, were Maj. Gen. Curtis Bedke, commander, Air Force Flight Test Center; Randy Brown, director, Global Hawk Systems Group; Gary Ervin, sector vice president, Northrop-Grumman Integrated Systems Western region and Maj. Mike Lyons, Global Hawk pilot and chief of standardization and evaluation, 12th Reconnaissance Squadron.
The Global Hawk program is managed by Aeronautical Systems Center’s Global Hawk Systems Group of the Reconnaissance Systems Wing here.
Global Hawk UAV-3 was deployed after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Air Force decision to deploy it while still an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator expressed the confidence the Air Force has in it and future unmanned aircraft systems for the Global War on Terrorism, Global Hawk officials said.
Its capabilities were proven in combat environments while still in the pre-production stage of the acquisition cycle. While deployed, UAV-3 flew 249 total sorties -- 191 were combat sorties. It provided tens of thousands of battlefield images to military decision-makers.
“We’ve seen an incredible transformation with unmanned vehicles, especially with Global Hawk,” said Mr. Brown. “We’re learning a lot about how we can build things better and smarter, but more importantly, we’ve learned how we can get capability into the warfighter’s hands much quicker than we would traditionally.”
“This system and this team has been the key to us being able to rethink how we deliver capabilities to those who really need it to support the Global War on Terror, and it is a major milestone in the program and one that is historical for the future of U.S. Air Force reconnaissance,” said Mr. Brown.
According to program officials, the success of this program has been a team effort, evolving from the drawing board concepts to actual unmanned flight in combat environments.
“Northrop Grumman is committed to supporting the Air Force to provide persistent surveillance to help protect the men and women in uniform,” said Mr. Ervin. “Global Hawk provides a revolutionary high-altitude, long-endurance surveillance capability.”
“Global Hawk’s all-weather imaging capability has truly pulled back the veil of protection once offered by darkness and poor weather and tied that capability to a platform that can remain on task for nearly a full day,” said Major Lyons.
“This synergy of capabilities is a true revolution in the reconnaissance arena,” he said. “I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with the many civilian contractors and military professionals that form the Global Hawk team. Without the daily efforts of literally dozens of people, this system would not continue to operate.”
“We are very proud of this program. Mostly, though, it’s not about the airframe; it’s about the people who designed, built, tested, acquired, [operated] and maintained this airframe both during test and at war,” said General Bedke.
“It doesn’t matter whether they’re contractors, Air Force civilians or Air Force military. It doesn’t matter if they’re test pilots, test engineers, or other aircrew. They are all part of what we call the Global Vigilance Combined Test Force,” he said. “We have the great, good fortune of living and working at a place that cherishes its history, its heritage and its heroes. That heritage and history now includes Global Hawk Air UAV-3, and its heroes include all of the people who assured it could do its mission and continue to test at the same time.”
(Editor’s note: 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs and Air Force Flight Test Center, both located at Edwards Air Force Base, contributed to this release.)
Srouce: Laura McGowan Aeronautical Systems Center Public Affairs
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