Photo credit: USNI News Photo
One of the US Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drones crashed in the waters off Spain this past June, and earlier this week, US European Command officials managed to recover what was left of it. This Northrop Grumman-built aircraft was assigned to 348th Reconnaissance Squadron out of Grand Forks Air Force Base, and went down in the Gulf of Cadiz near the US Navy’s base in Rota, Spain. It was used to provide a broad overview and systematic surveillance using high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and long-range electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors with long loiter times over target areas. The RQ-4 can survey as much as 40,000 square miles (100,000 km2) of terrain a day, which is an area the size of South Korea or Iceland. Continue reading for another video and more information.
It is used as a high-altitude platform covering the spectrum of intelligence collection capability to support forces in worldwide military operations. According to the United States Air Force, the superior surveillance capabilities of the aircraft allow more precise weapons targeting and better protection of friendly forces.