Brotherhood of the Travelling Hawk

An Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk transited British airspace for the first time as part of a NATO exercise aimed at developing operational concepts ahead of the arrival of the alliance’s own RQ-4s. “It is good to see existing airspace procedures enabling the seamless integration of remotely piloted air systems … within European airspace,” said Phil Osborn, alliance RPA capability director and Royal Air Force Air Vice Marshal, in a May 29 release. “From an air traffic control perspective … there is no discernible difference in our operation with the pilot being remotely located,” added Osborn. The Global Hawk flew a segmented route at approximately 50,000 feet altitude from a base in the Mediterranean Sea to exercise airspace in Norway as part of the alliance’s Unified Vision 2014 exercise this week, states the release. Several alliance members are purchasing a fleet of five pooled RQ-4s under the Alliance Ground Surveillance program.