Air Combat Command loaned one of its newer Block 40 Global Hawks to the flight test community at Edwards AFB, Calif., to help with configuration-constrained testing. The Block 40 from Grand Forks AFB, N.D., will join the existing Global Hawks at the 412th Test Wing’s Global Vigilance Combined Test Force at Edwards and will be used to test upgrades for the diminishing manufacturing source program, which addresses the loss or likely loss of manufacturers or suppliers of needed systems or raw material, according to an Air Force release. The high-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft also will be used to test additional systems, including Inmarsat and multi-platform mission control segment hardware and software integration. “The importance of Inmarsat testing is that in the end of calendar year 2016, if we don’t make these modernizations across the fleet our fleet faces potential grounding,” said Teresa Bennett, the GVCTF Global Hawk program manager. The block 40 Global Hawk is expected to be ready for use by September and is on loan through January. It will allow the test force to advance its current developmental testing and focus on modifications that will benefit ACC in the long run.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.