A small kit nestled into an empty compartment in the RQ-4B Global Hawk’s wing has solved the prickly problem of finding a suitable emergency landing field. Because Global Hawk requires a special tow-bar for ground handling, it was limited to a few emergency sites that are equipped for its needs. Prompted by cost, the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, created a simple solution. Engineers designed a “divert kit” comprised of a tow-bar adapter and main-undercarriage locks, contracting with a local company to bring the device from concept to operational deployment in just three weeks. The kits, which cost $2,000 and weigh a mere 14 pounds, are “an excellent example of “doing more without more,'” said Col. Karl Rozelsky, ASC Global Hawk Division chief. Eight of the kits are already deployed on aircraft worldwide. (Wright-Patterson report by Daryl Mayer)
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.