The Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, pictured here en route to Edwards Air Force Base in California, provides high resolution intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery. Using high-resolution sensors, including visible and infrared electro-optical systems and synthetic aperture radar, Global Hawk can survey a large geographic area with pinpoint accuracy from altitudes of above 60,000 feet. It can survey as much as 40,000 square miles of terrain in 24 hours. It can autonomously taxi, take off, fly, remain on station capturing imagery, return and land. Ground-based operators monitor its health and status and can change navigation and sensor plans during flight as necessary.
Northrop Grumman Corporation, Ryan Aeronautical Centre, is the prime contractor, and the principal suppliers include Raytheon Systems (sensors), Rolls-Royce North America (turbofan engine), Boeing North American (carbon fiber wing) and L3 Communications (communications system). Photo by Jim Shryne. Information provided courtesy of the U.S. Air Force and with the assistance of Cynthia Ehlinger, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT.