Military Embedded Systems

RQ-4 Global Hawk RPA passes deployment milestone


April 05, 2017

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. The U.S. Air Force Central Command reports that a 380th Air Expeditionary Wing RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), carrying a communications-enhancing payload, has completed 1,000 continuous sorties without a single maintenance cancellation while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.

The Global Hawk, deployed with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, passed the milestone while on a surveillance mission on April 1, 2017. Members of the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron and 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron successfully recovered the RPA.

The RQ-4 uses a battlefield airborne communications node (BACN) to facilitate communications between multinational coalition assets working to defeat ISIS in southwest Asia. The BACN payload works as a communications bridge between all on-ground and in-air personnel in the area of responsibility.

“Reaching 1,000 consecutive BACN sorties in a row really shows how effective our maintainers are at turning around this aircraft,” stated Staff Sgt. Bradley, the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “Even when we do have an issue we’ve been able to fix it and still get that jet out in a single day.” The BACN-equipped Global Hawks regularly fly 25-30 hours on a single sortie to meet 24/7 demand.