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A closer look at the drone Iran shot down last week

PortandTerminal.com, June 22, 2019

On Thursday Iran’s military shot down an American drone over the Strait of Hormuz. Iran identified the drone as an RQ-4A Global Hawk, a $110 million UAV that acts as a massive maritime surveillance platform in the sky. 

This week Iran downed an American military drone outside, near or in Iranian airspace depending upon who you listen to. The drone they downed is one of America’s very best at what it does. Let’s take a closer look at it.

The Northrop Grumman RQ4 Global Hawk is an American high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) used by the United States Navy as a surveillance aircraft.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is designed to gather near real-time, high-resolution images in all types of weather and during day and night. It has a maximum cruising altitude of 65,000 feet (19.8 km).

Global Hawks have amassed more than 250,000 flight hours since 2001 and have flown in support of US missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, according to its developer, the US national security contractor Northrop Grumman.

During a single mission, it can “provide detailed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information in near-real time over 40,000 square miles — approximately the size of Illinois,” Northrop adds.

An RQ-4 Global Hawk sits static in a hangar Oct. 25, 2018, at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy. The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft with an integrated sensor suite that provides global all-weather, day or night intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

A US Navy official estimates that the approximate cost of the RQ-4A Global Hawk drone is $110 million apiece.

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