Global Hawk Block 30 Binned - U2 "Dragon Lady" to Keep Flying for a While

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by redshift, Jan 27, 2012.

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  1. So, it looks like the Global Hawk block 30 program has been binned (or at least been put on the back burner). That's another $13 billion (some of which was mine - probably) down the drain, or at the very least not achieving its objectives.


    Northrop Grumman Statement on the Global Hawk Block 30 Program (NYSE:NOC)
    Exclusive: U.S. Air Force to halt Northrop unmanned plane | Reuters

    So looks like the old Dragon Lady will keep flying well into the 2020s after all. So far it has outlived the two planned "replacements," the SR-71 and now this. Ahh...nothing like a piece of good old cold war tech! So I guess they have to keep buying them cool chase cars too ;P


    p.s: Mods please feel free to move this thread, if it's not the right place/ another thread already exists.
  2. i don't think it is - it read to me like the cancelling of ten airframes of the Block 30 programe (at about $30M each, + sensors), with a decision to go for the USN's BAMS programme instead - the bigger the BAMS buy, the cheaper each aircraft gets.

    whats expensive is the 'fleets within fleets' chaos - if the UASAF and USN have effectively the same airframe and sensor package, then operating, maintaining and training for that programme will be vastly cheaper than everyone having their own little empire of different airframes.
  3. Its a shame the RAF doesn't have a few.
  4. Cold_Collation

    Cold_Collation LE Book Reviewer

    We effectively did, in the form of the Canberra PR.9.

    Another lost capability...
  5. Excellent airframe, the most effective airbourne camera mount ever, it's a good thing Rupert Murdoch didn't buy them!
  6. I am actually surprised that you guys didn't develop the Canberra platform more. The B-57 which was the license built, Americanized version of the Canberra was developed into a quite effective medium to high altitude recon platform (RB-57A though to RB-57Fs), was in service almost till the end of the 70s. Hell, even NASA used it for a long ass time because of it's good service ceiling of up to 80,000ft or so, while at the same time having a good payload carrying capacity.

    Of course, these days with satellite recon, the requirement might be reduced a bit, but wouldn't hurt to have a few around.