The Air Force’s first operational RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40 remotely piloted aircraft touched down at Grand Forks AFB, N.D., its new home. “The arrival of the first operational Global Hawk to Grand Forks is great news, and reaffirms the continued commitment of the Air Force to the [unmanned aircraft system] mission at Grand Forks,” said Sen. Kent Conrad (D) in a release. “Global Hawk and UAS represent a new era in military aviation, and we’re proud that Grand Forks has an important role to play,” said Sen. John Hoeven (R) in a separate statement. The aircraft arrived on Sept. 16 from California. Grand Forks is slated to host 10 Block 40s, the RQ-4 variant featuring the sophisticated MP-RTIP ground-surveillance radar. More Global Hawks will arrive this fall. The Air Force on Monday will activate the 69th Reconnaissance Group at Grand Forks to operate and maintain the base’s Global Hawks. (See also Grand Forks Herald report.)
Robins Air Force Base, Ga., has completed two environmental reviews, clearing the way for new construction to support the bases four new missions sets, which will replace the E-8 Joint STARS mission that has defined the base for decades.