Friday, June 03, 2011

Grand Forks AFB Airmen welcome Global Hawk

Airmen from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., welcome the first RQ-4 Global Hawk to the base May 26, 2011. The arrival marked the beginning of a new era of remotely piloted aircraft at the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Johnny Saldivar)

by Airman Derek VanHorn, 319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AFNS) -- Airmen celebrated the arrival of the RQ-4 Global Hawk during a ceremony here June 1.

The ceremony highlighted the beginning of a new era of remotely piloted aircraft here.

"It is an honor to be here; what a great day for Grand Forks (Air Force Base) and North Dakota -- this is cutting edge technology," said Maj. Gen. Thomas K. Andersen, the director of requirements at Air Combat Command. "I'm sure this community will thoroughly enjoy the Global Hawk as a tenant unit on this base, and we're grateful for the support you continue to give our Airmen as we look forward to a very, very long relationship.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is capable of providing government and military decision makers near real-time, high-altitude, long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery that can support a full spectrum of operations. Flying above ordinary commercial traffic, the aircraft can survey large geographic areas with pinpoint accuracy, without impacting civilian aircraft routes. The imagery provides the most current information available during contingency or crisis situations.

"This marks the next step in the long history of the Air Force and what we provide here at this base to the nation's defense: global vigilance," said Col. Don Shaffer, the 319th Air Base Wing commander.