The Northrop Grumman (formerly Ryan Aeronautical) RQ-4 Global Hawk (known as Tier II+ during development) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) used by the United States Air Force and Navy and the German Air Force as a surveillance aircraft.
In role and operational design, the Global Hawk is similar to the Lockheed U-2, the venerable 1950s spy plane. It is a theater commander's asset to provide a broad overview and systematic target surveillance. For this purpose, the Global Hawk is able to provide high resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) – that can penetrate cloud-cover and sandstorms – and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) imagery at long range with long loiter times over target areas. It can survey as much as 40,000 square miles (103,600 square kilometers) of terrain a day.
By kjfitz @ 2012-11-25 16:31:35