RQ-4 Flies Atlantic

An Air Force Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle flew for the first time across the Atlantic to Southwest Asia, making the 19-hour flight from NAS Patuxent River in Maryland. The milestone flight came on Sept. 20 and USAF expected to have the high-altitude RQ-4 fly a 24-hour war on terror mission within hours of arrival in theater. Airmen from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, Calif., joined forces with sailors and Navy contractors, who work with the Navy’s maritime version of the Global Hawk, to cut time and save resources. A1C Matthew Miles, an avionics specialist, said, “The Navy has all the supplies that we have, plus contracted support.” And, according to Col. George Zaniewski, Air Combat Command’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance division chief, crossing the Atlantic “allows us to cut a lot of different stops in a lot of different areas.” He expects cooperation to increase between the Air Force and Navy with the Global Hawk. ACC’s chief of current operations, Maj. Alan Rabb, believes the impact from this joint effort will “be really huge” and has opened the door to a “different aspect of joint ops.” (ACC report by MSgt. Steven Goetsch)