Updated : Nov 20, 2019 in Articles


As reported by Foreign Policy, the U.S Air
Force has proposed to retire as many as 21 of its 35 RQ-4 Global Hawk drones. Viewers can check the link in the ‘Description’
section below. The proposal has been submitted to the Office
of the Secretary of Defense for review as part of annual budget negotiations. These drones are currently being used for
intelligence gathering in different parts of the world including the Middle East. Viewers may note that in June this year Iran’s
Revolutionary Guard had shot down what it said was an “intruding American spy drone”
The U.S had acknowledged that an RQ-4A Global Hawk High-Altitude drone was downed by Iran. In this video Defense Updates analyze why
U.S air force may retire RQ-4 Global Hawks after the debacle against Iran? Let’s get started. This video is sponsored by the free-to-play
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ship and three days of premium account time as a bonus. The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk is a
High-Altitude, Long, Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) It was initially designed by Ryan Aeronautical
which is now part of Northrop Grumman. 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. The Global Hawk carries the Hughes Integrated
Surveillance & Reconnaissance (HISAR) sensor system. HISAR integrates a SAR-MTI system, along with
an optical and a thermography imager. All three sensors are controlled and their
outputs filtered by a common processor and transmitted in real-time at up to 50 Mbit/s
to a ground station. Global Hawk is capable of taking high definition
and infra-red images as well as can intercept telephone and radio chatter. It can survey as much as 40,000 square miles
or 100,000 km2 of terrain per day. This is equivalent to the size of South Korea
or Iceland. Global Hawk has a range of more than 12,000
nautical miles, can fly at very high altitudes of 60,000 feet, and can keep loitering for
around 34 hours without break. Global Hawk has no offensive capabilities. According to Iran, the drone was struck by
an Iranian-produced Raad SAM located near Garuk, Hormozgan Province. However, citing a Pentagon official, Newsweek
had reported the missile as a Russian-origin S-125 Neva/Pechora. Whatever may be the case, none of these Air
Defense Systems are the most sophisticated once but still managed to shoot down the Global
Hawk. This was possible since Global Hawk has many
shortcomings. Global Hawk is a pretty big drone. It has a wingspan of more than 130 feet. To give viewers a perspective, this is similar
to a Boeing 737 passenger jet. Global Hawk is not designed to be stealthy. So, it is a pretty big target. The Global Hawk is also rather heavy at more
than 16 tons. The weight takes a toll on speed. It can only fly at a maximum speed of only
391 mph or 629 km/h. This is a bad combo, to say the least. Its large radar signature makes it easy to
track by radars and because of lumbering flight speed & limited maneuverability, it can be
easily targeted by any decent Surface to Air Missile. It is also to be noted that ECM is not available
to Global Hawk. ECM or Electronic countermeasure is a mechanism
designed to trick or deceive radar. It may be used both offensively and defensively
to deny targeting information to an enemy. The system may make many separate targets
appear to the enemy, or make the real target appear to disappear or move about randomly. This kind of system can also jam enemy sensors
by overloading them with too much information. ECM can be used effectively to protect aircraft
from Surface to Air Missile. A single RQ-4A Global Hawk costs $131.4 million
excluding R&D expenses. This makes is it pricier than an F 35 which
now costs around 80 million and 10 times the price of drones like the Predator and Reaper. Air superiority is the key to modern warfare. Near peer rivals of the U.S like Russia & China
have deployed sophisticated air defense systems as part of the Anti-Access and Area Denial
(A2AD) strategy. For example, Russia has S 400. It developed by Russia’s Almaz Central Design
Bureau in the 1990s as an upgrade of the S 300 family. It has been in service with the Russian armed
forces since 2007. S 400 is designed to defend against aircraft
including 5th generation stealth fighters, bombers, AWACS, cruise missiles, and ballistic
missiles. It is considered one of the most powerful
anti-aircraft defense systems in the world. S 400 can track hundreds of targets at a time,
engage up to 36 targets in parallel and simultaneously launch 72 missiles. S 400 uses multiple radars depending on threat
perception. The primary one is either the 91N6E Big Bird
Acquisition and Battle Management Radar or 92N6E Grave Stone Multimode Engagement Radar
These have a range of around 600 km or around 370 miles. The main radar is complimented by target acquisition
radars, some of which are touted to have the ability to detect stealth aircraft. S 400 deploys multiple missiles to cover its
strike envelope and can take out a targets at ranges up to 250 miles or around 400 km
which are traveling at speed ups to Mach 14 Even second tire powers like Iran have developed
indigenous air defense systems that have decent capabilities. For example, Iran has deployed Khordad 15. Khordad 15 is a mobile air defense system
which is claimed to be indigenously developed by Iran. It was inaugurated in the presence of Defense
Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami in June. The system incorporates a domestically developed
radar. Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami had said that the system
is capable of detecting fighter jets and combat drones from 150 km or 93 miles away and tracking
them within a range of 120 km or 75 miles. According to him, the system can be deployed
in less than 5 minutes, and track 6 targets simultaneously. He added that it can shoot targets at an altitude
of 27 km or 17 miles off the ground. RQ-4 Global Hawk is suitable for use against
insurgent forces such as ISIS or the Taliban that don’t have the resources to track and
destroy high-flying aircraft. But against a decently equipped military,
it is very vulnerable. Most experts agree that against counties like
Russia and China, Global Hawk has a very limited chance of survival. To fill the surveillance gap the U.S military
is deploying other assets like the RQ-180. The Northrop Grumman RQ-180 is a stealth unmanned
aerial vehicle surveillance aircraft intended for contested airspace. There have been no images or statements released,
but growing evidence points to the existence of the RQ-180 and its use in regular front-line
service The proposed cut in Global Hawks is part of
a larger plan that was laid in the National Defense Strategy rolled out by then-Defense
Secretary James Mattis in January 2018. Pentagon’s focus will be to field next-generation
weapons that can penetrate Chinese and Russian defenses like the B-21 stealth bomber and
hypersonic missiles and hence legacy platforms like Global Hawks could
be deprecated.


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  • The new Valkyrie XQ-58 US Drone is great at $3 million each. Get rid of this old drone hardware… the maintenance and parts is probably crazy expensive anyway.

  • The new Valkyrie XQ-58 US Drone is great at $3 million each. Get rid of this old drone hardware… the maintenance and parts is probably crazy expensive anyway.

  • the reaper and the predator can be fitted with the same inteligence gathering gear than the global hawk, so this is probably why they want to retire it. the is no need for various models to do a job that one model can do perfectly well.

  • I bet Valkyrie XQ-58 & Avengers stealth Drones will be more than enough to take down Iran, as well against the S-400 & S-500s.

  • Interesting, because today a predator drone was shit down in my country Libya, the drone belongs to the Italian Air force

  • The video doesn’t accurately represent the drone in its designed environment. It is not, nor has it ever claimed to have been designed to survive in high threat, combat environments. It’s only function is high altitude surveillance, nothing more. There is no active drone in the inventory that can do the job of the global hawk at this time.

  • As reported by Foreign Policy ( F.P ) the US Air Force ( USAF ) has proposed ( P.P.S.D ) to retire as many ( M.Y ) as 21 ( 2.1 ) of its ( I.T.S ) RQ-4 Global Hawk drones ( RQ-4 G.H.D ) Viewers can ( C.A.N ) the link in the description section below ( D.S.B ) The proposal ( P.P ) has been submitted to the Secretary of Defense ( S.O.D ) for review as part of ( P.O ) annual ( A.N.N ) budget negotiations ( N.O ) These ( T.H ) drones ( D.R.O.N.E.S ) are currently being used ( B.U ) for intelligence gathering ( I.G ) in ( I.N ) different parts ( D.P ) of the world ( W.L ) including the middle east ( M.E ) Viewers may note ( V.M.N ) that in June ( T.I.J ) this year , Iran's ( POS country ) Revolutionary Guard ( A.S.S H.O.L.E.S ) had shot down ( H.S.D )…………….

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