Friday, Oct 09th

Last update03:12:59 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...

12 Dead After U.S. C-130 Transport Plane Crashes in Afghanistan

us c-130Twelve people, including five American service members, were killed early Friday when a U.S. C-130 transport...

Neller takes over as top Marine as Dunford moves on to chairman of Joint Chiefs

Gen. Joseph DunfordHailed as “a tested warrior and an innovative strategist,” Gen. Robert Neller accepted command of the...

U.S.-trained Syrian rebels gave equipment to Nusra: U.S. military

Nusra front fightersSyrian rebels trained by the United States gave some of their equipment to the al Qaeda-linked...

U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Child Rape

Dan QuinnIn his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was...
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!