Global Hawk Targets Drugs

Northrop Grumman has identified a new mission for its high-flying Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle—already hailed as a star of war on terror operations. On May 1, company officials said the UAV recently conducted three 28-hour test flights over major drug trafficking routes. The UAV’s sensors successfully tracked low-flying aircraft and fast-moving small boats that often are used to smuggle drugs into the US. Flying from Edwards AFB, Calif., and controlled by personnel at Northrop’s San Diego facility, the Global Hawk flew along the Gulf of Mexico and into the area of responsibility for US Southern Command Air Forces, detecting and tracking targets off Corpus Christi, Tex., and Key West, Fla.