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Surveillance drones to deploy in April

Erik Holmes / Air Force Times | October 6 2006

The first Global Hawk surveillance drone will deploy to Andersen Air Force Base in April 2007 on a temporary demonstration basis, Col. Michael Boera, 36th Wing commander, said Tuesday.

The deployment is in preparation for a permanent contingent of seven Global Hawks that will begin moving to Andersen in 2009 or 2010.

"It's in line with our growth in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission here and how important that is to security in this neck of the world," Boera said.

Andersen will begin construction next summer of a $52.8 million maintenance and operations complex for the Global Hawks.
Boera said the hangar will be typhoon-resistant and will be able to accommodate other aircraft, such as bombers and tankers.

The facility will be complete in fiscal 2009 for the arrival of the first of Andersen's permanent Global Hawks.

Boera said the Air Force is in discussion with regional allies including Singapore to create a cooperative Global Hawk arrangement, with Andersen serving as a "coalition bed-down" for the aircraft.

Gen. Paul V. Hester, Pacific Air Forces commander, said last week that the Air Force is in discussions to use facilities in foreign countries as "gas stations" to extend the range of the Global Hawk from Andersen throughout the Pacific.

He said the first three Global Hawks will arrive in Guam in 2009 and 2010, with the full complement in place by 2013 or 2014.

Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Australia are interested in buying Global Hawks, Hester said, and the Air Force is in discussions with other nations about landing and refueling rights.

"We are talking and discussing how we want to extend Global Hawks out into the farther reaches of the Pacific," Hester said. "We are in the discussion mode with several other countries as to, is there an opportunity to develop ... a 'gas-and-go' ... in the outer reaches of the Pacific so that we can extend the range and operating environment."

Hester said the concept is "immature" but is an exciting possibility that would aid war efforts.

The launch and recovery element for the Global Hawks will be located at Andersen, with the command and control element at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.


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