USAF can perform parts of Global Hawk mission set with "classified platform"

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posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 10:57 PM
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The US Air Force does not intend to keep the Block 30 Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk in service past the end of calendar year 2014 because the Lockheed Martin U-2 and other "classified platforms" can take-over its mission, senior service leaders told the US Congress on 17 April. However, service officials acknowledge that it will be hard to convince Congress to go along with the USAF's plans.

"We did not do that without carefully considering how we'd cover that mission with the U-2 and other classified platforms," says Lt Gen Charles Davis, military deputy for the office of the assistant secretary of the air force for acquisitions.

www.flightglobal.com...


Surprised that this didn't get a mention yet.



Another U-2 replacement bites the dust...




posted on Apr, 23 2013 @ 11:27 PM
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Is the Block 30 in actual production yet? It's been on again/off again since early last year - according to this document it is not actually in production as of late last year

whereas hte Block 20 is in production, and the Block 40 planning and testing is still going on.

So this is a case of cancelling something that isn't actually in operation yet in favour of retaining what it was supposed to replace?



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 02:34 AM
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I think you're misreading the doc. IOT&E was in 2010 or 2011, sometime. It is deployed overseas. It's been in low-rate production, but they held up the line when the AF first proposed cancelling the program last year until a decision was made.

They've been more expensive to operate than anticipated. And they don't have much growth potential because they pinched pennies and didn't put in a more powerful engine as proposed.

My bet is they transfer them to another service or NATO.

I thought the interesting bit was that there exists one or more "classified platform"s for the job. Not that we didn't suspect that already, I suppose.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 03:25 AM
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Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel or similar aircraft replacing it?



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 03:48 AM
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Sounds like it.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 04:33 AM
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reply to post by C0bzz
 


No. The RQ-170 was never planned for a big mission role. It was only am interim replacement for another system that wasn't ready. They are talking about what it was filling in for.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 04:34 AM
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Sweetman's attempt at reading the "tea-leaves"...

“We did not do that without carefully looking at how we cover that with the U-2 and other classified platforms,” Davis said, adding that “you’d probably need to go into detail with in another forum”, a form of words indicating a classified session.

“We have pretty much heavily funded ISR for a very permissive environment for a couple of decades,” Davis continued. “We are in the process of trying to look at all the assets, with our operational requirements and intelligence requirements, to rationalize a program that has operated almost totally uncontested and prepare it for a scenario where it is not going to have that freedom.”


In other words VLO...
edit on 24-4-2013 by _Del_ because: Fixed link...



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 04:42 AM
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Who says the classified platform is a 'conventional' air breathing craft? Hmmmmm, I wonder what types of platforms operated by the Air Force could provide that kind of persistence? Is it possible it might be some small, complex, very LEO payload that can be launched from say, a C5M, or a C17, or maybe even, the X37B? The world wonders and the wheel turns!



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 04:46 AM
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reply to post by _Del_
 


From what I've heard, he's really not far off, except on the time frame. It apparently has been flying for awhile now, and may be operational.



posted on Apr, 24 2013 @ 04:47 AM
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reply to post by CarbonBase
 


Oh, this particular one is air breathing.



posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 05:27 AM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


I may be missing something. How do we know it's airbreathing? If so, why would that rule out a polar LEO platform? (Could be TSTO)



posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 09:06 AM
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reply to post by TAGBOARD
 


Through sources of my own, that have relayed information to me that you won't find anywhere. There are a couple of platforms in development, but the one closest to operational is an air breather.



posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 10:09 AM
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USAF wants more X-37's. In todays economy they have to dump the old to have money to build the new. Thats all this is about.



posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 10:18 AM
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reply to post by Xeven
 


No, this has nothing to do with the X-37. There are several black projects in development for both the ISR and strike platform.



posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 04:28 PM
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www.spyflight.co.uk...

PHAE from Lockheed Martin could be a real good bet.



posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 07:24 PM
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reply to post by Astr0
 


I'm hunting bread crumbs on this one. Anything I find won't be on the Web, but if I get the ok, I'll pass it on.



posted on Apr, 29 2013 @ 07:42 PM
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Remember when the USAF took the 'stretched' Predator C Avenger to Afghanistan for testing? well, im wondering if they have decked it out with enough toys to make an asset that has real long legs, good speed, and more of a low observable nature than the GH.

Just food for thought as General Atomics press release states they have tested their new advanced ground control operators system in 2012 with the Avenger C.



posted on Apr, 29 2013 @ 08:08 PM
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reply to post by Astr0
 


The Avenger isn't quite ready for prime time. It's moved into the area where it will be ready within a couple years tops, but it won't be ready for IOC for awhile yet. There are only a small handful of aircraft flying (the second test article flew in January 2012), and the Air Force has to date only ordered the one for a test deployment.



posted on Apr, 29 2013 @ 08:18 PM
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A customer has demanded that General Atomics install "Global Hawk-like" payloads on the Avenger, says Don Bolling, a Lockheed Martin senior business development manager

That above was from 2010. I'm wondering if the future carrier capable Avenger C is going to be a LO navalised GH'alike.
www.flightglobal.com...
edit on 29-4-2013 by Astr0 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 29 2013 @ 08:23 PM
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reply to post by Astr0
 


The Avenger is reportedly going to be offered to the Navy as part of the UCLASS program. Reports are that the Avenger, the Lockheed Martin Sea Ghost, the Northrop Grumman X-47B (it's believed), and an unknown Boeing UAV will be offered. Those four companies will receive a contract to offer aircraft to the program.





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