Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Northrop Grumman tout the Global Hawk as providing the safest and most cost-effective and efficient means of gathering intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) information over a vast geographic area without putting anyone in harm’s way. Flying at altitudes up to 60,000 feet for more than 32 hours per sortie at speeds approaching 340 knots, the MP-RTIP-equipped Block 40 Global Hawk can persistently see through most type of weather, day or night and is the world's first fully autonomous high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
The aircraft is flown autonomously by flight control software under the direct supervision of a pilot. The pilot does not physically manipulate the control surfaces in flight but instead, he commands the computer to take action when needed, or the system can be left alone and fly a complete pre-programmed mission.