Sunday, February 8, 2015

Iconic Planes: Global Hawk

Global Hawk 1.jpgThe Global Hawk is the US Army's primary surveillance drone. It uses high-resolution synthetic aperture radar and long range imaging systems to real-time photos and videos of warzones, etc. The craft can survey up to 100000 square kilometres of ground per day. The Global Hawk allows for better air support and intelligence to armies worldwide and also for more accurate weapon targeting and protection of civilians. However, cost overruns made each plane cost 222 million dollars, compared to the 35 millions dollars which it was supposed to cost. Thus, only 42 of these planes have been built. (Above right): A Global Hawk in flight.
The Global Hawk has a aluminium body while the wings are made of a very strong lightweight composite. The plane carriers up to 2000 pounds of internal sensors, imaging systems and other surveillance equipment. It has advanced maritime and land surveillance capabilities and is controlled by a ground control location which also received information sent by the plane. (Left): A ground crew prepares a Global Hawk for flight.

The Global Hawk first flew on 28th February 1998. The first 7 were built under sponsorship by DARPA. Its demand was high in the wars in Afghanistan, so the first two were deployed there to give ground support.

The Triton is the Navy's version of the Global Hawk, and consists of a much stronger wing design. While the Hawk stays high in the sky to conduct surveillance, the Triton can take images from 50000 feet and drop down to 10000 feet to confirm. Its wing is thusly designed to account for the rapid drop in altitude, and also includes many special features such as anti-icing and lightning protection. (Left): Two Tritons, the Navy's version of the Global Hawk

The EuroHawk was a variant of the Global Hawk which was ordered by the German Air Force. The tests were largely successful, but due to a failure to comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules, the program was cancelled after some time. However, efforts are being made by the German government to bring the project back online, this time in compliance with the rules of the ICAO. (Right): A EuroHawk.


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