Staying Relevant Beyond 2020

The Air Force needs to re-evaluate its procedures for the RQ-4 Global Hawk to make sure the remotely piloted aircraft system is relevant beyond 2020, said Brig. Gen. Jake Polumbo, Air Combat Command’s director of plans and programs. Topping the list, he said, is figuring out a more efficient way to get Global Hawks from Beale AFB, Calif., to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia, reported the Shephard Group. Polumbo said the Air Force is already using polar and northern routes to cut down the travel time it takes to get the Global Hawks to the combat theater. The service also needs to adopt a “beyond-line-of-sight launch mindset” for Global Hawk versus the line-of-sight capability it’s practiced over the last decade, said Polumbo, who spoke last week at an RPA industry symposium in Denver.