First Over Libya

An Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 led the opening airstrikes in Libya this spring, using its Moving Target Indication capability to detect, track, and identify targets operationally for the first time.”Global Hawk was the first aircraft on station … so as to provide targeting information for the coalition forces,” said Bill Walker, Global Hawk business manager for Northrop Grumman in a briefing Aug. 16 in Washington, D.C. Operation Odyssey Dawn “was the first time that multiple aspects of the sensor were used to queue things that were moving, and once they stopped, identify and target them,” explained Walker. Combining mapping synthetic aperture radar and moving target indication technology, the Global Hawk was able to identify and track vehicles. Using its electro-optical “eye,” it was then able to identify and confirm the target once it stopped, relaying on highly accurate targeting information, according to Walker. “It wasn’t flying continuously, but for a new capability that hadn’t been declared operational it sure did a lot of operations,” emphasized Walker. The Block 30 attained initial operational capability Aug. 10.