Intelligence: July 26, 2002


One of the only three Global Hawk recon drones crashed in early July when it was believed that its engine failed. This was the only Global Hawk equipped with an electro-optical/infrared payload; the other two have synthetic aperture radars which can be used in bad weather but give less precise images. Production of the next Global Hawk (airframe #7) and two more electro-optical payloads is being accelerated. Military analysts doubt that the US would try to invade Iraq with such a small and limited Global Hawk force as is now available. A final evaluation of the December 2001 crash has shown that the aircraft suffered a structural failure that sent it into an unrecoverable spin. --Stephen V Cole


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