USAF Voices Global Hawk Frustrations

The Air Force is “not happy with the learning curve” on the RQ-4 Global Hawk program, David Van Buren, USAF’s acquisition executive, told reporters Friday during a meeting in the Pentagon. On both the government and contractor side, the program “needs to do better,” he said. Northrop Grumman supplies the Global Hawk. While in most programs, the cost of each successive lot goes down, but Global Hawk is “going in the wrong direction,” said Van Buren. Among his gripes, the process of negotiating new contracts for these remotely piloted reconnaissance aircraft takes “an inordinate amount of time” and is “excruciating,” he noted. He did note that the Global Hawk Block 20 battlefield air communications node version is “doing quite well.” Northrop said in response to the criticism that the overall cost of the RQ-4 air vehicle and its sensors is trending down, reported DOD Buzz.