The Air Force last week completed flight tests on the latest version of the Global Hawk UAV. Test personnel at Edwards AFB, Calif., put the Block 10 production UAV through a battery of exercises, covering flying operations and electro-optical, infrared, and synthetic radar sensor function and sensor image quality. Currently, the Global Hawks that have been providing ISR imagery over Iraq and Afghanistan are one-of-a-kind technology demonstrators. Once Air Combat Command gives the OK on the production version, blue-suit maintainers will take over from civilian contractors.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.