Global Hawk | Wikipedia audio article

This is an audio version of the Wikipedia Article:

00:02:10 1 Development
00:02:20 1.1 Origins
00:05:01 1.2 United States Navy version
00:08:13 1.3 Cost increases and procurement
00:12:26 1.4 EuroHawk
00:18:10 1.5 Universal Payload Adapter and new payloads
00:20:35 2 Design
00:20:45 2.1 Overview
00:23:53 2.2 System and ground facilities
00:27:03 2.3 Sensor packages
00:27:13 2.3.1 Radar
00:31:30 2.3.2 Visible light/infrared
00:32:24 3 Operational history
00:32:34 3.1 U.S. Air Force
00:42:52 3.1.1 Records
00:45:10 3.2 NASA
00:47:32 3.3 NATO
00:48:37 3.4 Potential operators
00:53:19 4 Variants
00:55:30 5 Operators
00:57:40 6 Accidents
00:58:25 7 Specifications (RQ-4B Block 30/40)
01:00:37 8 See also

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“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”
– Socrates

The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk is an unmanned (UAV) surveillance aircraft. It was initially designed by Ryan Aeronautical (now part of Northrop Grumman), and known as Tier II+ during development. The Global Hawk performs duties similar to that of the Lockheed U-2. The RQ-4 provides a broad overview and systematic surveillance using high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and long-range electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors with long loiter times over target areas. It can survey as much as 40,000 square miles (100,000 km2) of terrain a day, an area the size of South Korea or Iceland.
The Global Hawk is operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). It is used as a High-Altitude Long Endurance platform covering the spectrum of intelligence collection capability to support forces in worldwide military operations. According to the USAF, the superior surveillance capabilities of the aircraft allow more precise weapons targeting and better protection of friendly forces. Cost overruns led to the original plan to acquire 63 aircraft being cut to 45, and to a 2013 proposal to mothball the 21 Block 30 signals intelligence variants. Each aircraft was to cost US$60.9 million in 2001, but this had risen to $222.7 million per aircraft (including development costs) by 2013. The U.S. Navy has developed the Global Hawk into the MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance platform.