DOD: Northrop's new Global Hawk not mission ready

Mission-critical components fail at high rates, report says

Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 30 – the latest version of the drone – has failed the Pentagon’s testing requirements and “is not operationally suitable,” according to a report released May 27 by the Defense Department and authorized by the DOD Director of operational test and evaluation J. Michael Gilmore, reports Bloomberg.

The Global Hawk’s “mission-critical components fail at high rates, resulting in poor takeoff reliability, high air abort rates, low mission capable rates, an excessive demand for critical spare parts and a high demand for maintenance support,” stated the report, which also provided 16 recommendations from creating de-icing systems to strengthening communications systems to get the drone mission ready.

The test report might temporarily halt production on the planes of which only 16 out of 42 have been purchased by the Air Force so far, though more won’t be clear until a Pentagon production meeting later in June.

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