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[] noch mehr zu UAVs: Jetzt auch Global Hawk im Einsatz in Afghanistan,
(von Georg Schöfbänker)
October 30, 2001

Rumsfeld Deploys Global Hawk To Enduring Freedom

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has signed an order to deploy the
Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle in support of Operation Enduring
Freedom, according to Pentagon sources.

The order was signed Oct. 26 after weeks of speculation over whether
the Pentagon would send the young unmanned aerial vehicle to provide
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to allied forces in
the region around Afghanistan.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Lapan declined to comment on the
deployment because Global Hawk is an intelligence asset. The Office
of the Secretary of Defense has issued orders not to discuss
deployment details on any intelligence assets, Lapan said.

During a breakfast last month, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John
Jumper indicated the "anything is possible" when asked whether the
UAVs would be used in the air war over Afghanistan.

"We are looking at options. . . . I'm not going to try and pre-empt
what options OSD will select, but we are trying," said Jumper.

Global Hawk carries an integrated sensor suite that includes
electro-optical and infrared sensors and synthetic aperture radar. A
mission control element, which includes a launch and recovery unit,
must also deploy with the UAV.

Although still inferior to the manned U-2 in intelligence collection
capabilities, the UAV may subsume the high-altitude reconnaissance
role after some upgrades that will allow Global Hawk to take on
additional sensors. Until then, sources say the UAV will likely
complement the U-2's capabilities. U-2s often operate from bases in
the Middle East and Europe, and the aircraft are likely supporting
U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, sources said.

The Air Force has four Global Hawk air vehicles, all of which have
been involved in rigorous testing at Edwards Air Force Base, CA. A
fifth was built but crashed in May 1999 when a self-termination code
was inadvertently sent to the vehicle.

The UAV effort began about four years ago as an advanced technology
demonstration program; ACTDs are used to streamline the development
process for a promising technology and give warfighters early
hands-on access to its capabilities.

OSD shifted Global Hawk from ACTD to system design and demonstration
earlier this year. The service plans to buy two air vehicles per
year. However, interest from senior Defense Department leaders has
prompted Air Force officials to draw up a slew of program
acceleration options - including swifter integration of improved
sensors onto the air vehicle and ramping production of the vehicles
up to higher levels.

-- Amy Butler

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