Global Hawk flies its first flight over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Global Hawk, the Department of Defense's newest reconnaissance aircraft, flies over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on Feb. 28, 1998, during its first flight. Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned air vehicle designed to operate with a range of 13,500 nautical miles, at altitudes up to 65,000 feet and with an endurance of 40 hours. During a typical reconnaissance mission, the aircraft can fly 3,000 miles to an area of interest, remain on station for 24 hours, survey an area the size of the state of Illinois (40,000 square nautical miles), and then return 3,000 miles to its operating base. Sensors onboard the aircraft can provide near-real-time imagery of the area of interest to the battlefield commander via world-wide satellite communication links and the system's ground segment.