Air Force Global Hawks flew three sorties from Andersen AFB, Guam, snapping 282 wide-area shots and 1,000 pre-planned images of the typhoon-ravaged Philippines on Nov. 16 and Nov. 20, Northrop Grumman announced in a Jan. 6 release. In addition, the Block 30 aircraft diverted several times following Typhoon Haiyan to beam-back imagery of areas of special interest to relief forces and officials. “Having the ability to task and retask Global Hawk[s] gives commanders the flexibility to conduct productive ISR missions that feed near real-time information to the response teams,” explained Jim Culmo, company vice president for high altitude systems. Aided by Global Hawk, local officials and relief workers were able to quickly access damage, prioritize response, and bypass choke points to quickly rescue survivors, stated the release.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.