RQ-4A Global Hawk
Mission Provide persistent, near-real-time intelligence from high-altitude to support operations across the spectrum of conflict.
The RQ-4A/B Global Hawk unmanned aerial weapon system consists of aircraft, sensors, ground stations, data links, and trained personnel. It combines high-altitude, long endurance, and beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) communications to provide responsive, persistent intelligence support where needed, throughout the world . The RQ-4 provides critical information to U.S. and allied decision makers in all weather, day or night, throughout all phases of conflict, including peacetime indications and warnings, low-intensity conflict, and large-scale hostilities. The RQ-4 is being developed and fielded in capability blocks. Block 10 is currently operational and carries imagery intelligence (IMINT) sensors.
Block 20 will employ a larger aircraft with increased payload capacity and improved IMINT. Block 30 will retain the improved IMINT sensors and integrate signals intelligence (SIGINT) sensors to achieve simultaneous, multi-INT coverage. Block 40 will comprise a separate set of aircraft employing an advanced radar sensor to provide improved IMINT and surface/air moving target information in support of both battle management and intelligence needs.
The RQ-4 is an unmanned, singleengine aircraft. Crews fly the aircraft and control missions from ground stations made up of a Launch/Recovery Element (LRE) and a Mission Control Element (MCE). Takeoff
and landing is controlled from an LRE at the RQ-4 airfield, using line-of-sight (LOS) or BLOS communications. During missions, aircraft and sensor control are accomplished from an MCE using BLOS links.
- Size : Block 10 - 26,750 lb. takeoff gross weight, Blocks 20, 30 & 40 - 32,250 lb takeoff gross weight
- Range : Block 10 – 9,500 nm; Blocks 20, 30, & 40 – 8,700 nm
- Dimensions : Block 10 - Length: 44 ft.; Wingspan: 116 ft.; Height: 14 ft.; Blocks 20, 30, and 40 – Length: 48 ft.; Wingspan: 131 ft.; Height: 15 ft.
- Coverage : Wide area coverage due to high altitude and long endurance. Sensor capability varies by block. Block 10 – EO/IR and SAR, Block 20 – Enhanced EO/IR and SAR, Block 30 – Simultaneous enhanced EO/IR and SAR, and SIGINT, Block 40 – MP-RTIP radar only, for improved IMINT and Surface/Air MTI
- Interoperability : RQ-4 uses commercial Ku BLOS or X-band LOS data links for combined C2 and sensor data, with INMARSAT and UHF data links as back-up. It is interoperable through the MCE with
Distributed Common Ground Station (DCGS) nodes, including compatible Army, Navy and Marine Corps surface terminals.
- Compatibility : Sensor data can be sent through satellite for BLOS link to MCE and relayed to DCGS nodes, and via LOS link directly to theater users. IMINT data can be injected by DCGS onto the wide area network (WAN) or other appropriate network sites.
- Speed : Block 10 - 340 knots; Blocks 20, 30 and 40 – 310 knots.
- Payload : Block 10 - 2,000 lb.; IMINT; Block 20 – 3,000 lb.; enhanced IMINT; Block 30 – 3,000 lb.; enhanced IMINT plus SIGINTBlock 40 – 3,000 lb.; MP-RTIP.
- Other Specifications : Altitude - 60,000 ft; Endurance - 28 hour.
Acquisition Status :
- Program Status : Low Rate Inititial Production
- Unit Assignment : 12th Reconnaissance Squadron
- Current Inventory : 7 Block 10 aircraft and 2 ground stations
- Future Upgrades : Block 20 - Larger aircraft with enhanced IMINT (EO/IR) sensors and greater payload capacity; Block 30 - SimF10/10