Monday, Mar 19th

Last update05:20:13 AM GMT

You are here News Military Global Hawk: The drone the Pentagon couldn’t ground

Global Hawk: The drone the Pentagon couldn’t ground

E-mail Print PDF

Global HawkWith billions of dollars in spending reductions looming, Air Force officials looked around last year for a program they could cut that was underperforming, had busted its budget and wasn’t vital to immediate combat needs.

Eventually, they settled on the production line for a $223 million aircraft known as the Global Hawk, with the wingspan of a tanker but no pilot in the cockpit, built to fly over vast terrain for a little more than a day while sending back data to military commanders on the ground.

“The Block 30 (version of Global Hawk) is not operationally effective,” the Pentagon’s top testing official had declared in a blunt 2011 report about the drones being assembled by Northrop Grumman in Palmdale, Calif. Canceling its production and putting recently built models into long-term storage would save $2.5 billion over five years, the service projected. Its missions could be picked up by an Air Force stalwart, the U-2 spy plane, which had room for more sensors and could fly higher.

What happened next was an object lesson in the power of a defense contractor to trump the Pentagon’s own attempts to set the nation’s military spending priorities amid a tough fiscal climate. A team of Northrop lobbyists, packed with former congressional staff and bolstered by hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions, persuaded Congress to demand the drone’s continued production and operation.


Most Recent Related Stories...

Seven U.S. service members killed in Iraq helicopter crash

7 US servicemen killed in helicopter crash in Iraq All seven service members aboard an American military helicopter that crashed in western Iraq late Thursday...

U.S. Navy sends two missile-guided Destroyers to Black Sea

US Navy sends destroyers to Black Sea The U.S. Navy announced last week that it will increase its presence in the Black...

Trump Is Dragging Feet on Transgender Ban Evidence, Judge Rules

Transgender troop ban The Trump administration has repeatedly failed to identify evidence it may use to defend the government’s...

Pentagon's 'deploy-or-be-removed' policy takes effect

Robert Wilkie, Dept. of Defense The Pentagon on Friday released new policy guidance on retention of non-deployable service members, which...
America's # 1 Enemy
Tee Shirt
& Help Support!
TVNL Tee Shirt
Conserve our Planet
& Help Support!
Get your 9/11 & Media
Deception Dollars
& Help Support!
The Loaded Deck
The First & the Best!
The Media & Bush Admin Exposed!