Building Block

The 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, Calif., on Nov. 24 took delivery of its first RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 unmanned reconnaissance aircraft. This airframe flew in from Edwards AFB, Calif., where it had completed months of developmental flight testing. The Block 30 model has a wider wingspan and can carry 1,000 lbs more payload than the Block 10s that already call Beale home and have been in use over Afghanistan and Iraq. It will carry an enhanced sensor suite and a robust signal intelligence payload. (USAF also expects to field Block 30s in the Pacific.) “Now that we are receiving them we can start doing pilot training here at Beale and also train sensor operators,” said Maj. Robert Gudikunst of the wing’s commander’s action group. In November, the Block 30 model, received military airworthiness certification, a prerequisite for FAA approval to fly within the national airspace. (Beale report by TSgt. Luke Johnson)