The US Air Force has selected Beale Air Force Base, Calif., as the first Global Hawk main operating base. Air Force officials recently completed an environmental assessment and found basing 18 of the unmanned aerial vehicles at Beale would result in no significant environmental impacts.
This decision follows a Jan. 19 Air Force announcement declaring Beale as the preferred location for the beddown of the UAV. Other bases under consideration included Edwards AFB, Calif.; Ellsworth AFB, S.D.; Tinker AFB, Okla.; and Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
Global Hawk provides Air Force commanders high-altitude, long-endurance, near-real-time intelligence.
"Collocating Global Hawk with Beale's 9th Reconnaissance Wing and the U-2 (Dragon Lady) mission will ensure Global Hawk transitions smoothly from initial beddown to full operational capability," said Gen. John P. Jumper, commander of Air Combat Command.
"It also ensures cultural issues associated with transitioning from manned to unmanned reconnaissance are in the hands of our current high-altitude reconnaissance experts at Beale. They are best suited to complete the transition with the least disruption to the mission.
"The first beddown location will be just that -- the first, not the last," Jumper said. "It is important the first Global Hawk site be the best place for us to find out all we can about its capability, and the best place to fold it into a critical ongoing mission."
Air Force officials are confident the Global Hawk program will be a tremendous success. As such, the bases not selected for the initial beddown, as well as others, could be candidates for future missions and basing.
The Air Force anticipates the first of the 18 primary aircraft and personnel to begin arriving at Beale in 2002 and 2003, with initial capability to support limited operations beginning in 2003.
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Global Hawk Production Ramps Up Begins
San Diego - June 18, 2001
Northrop Grumman Corporation's Integrated Systems Sector (ISS) has received $20.5 million from the U.S. Air Force for advanced procurement of long-lead parts for the start of low-rate initial production of two Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles and one mission control element.
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