USAF announces EQ-4 Global Hawk UAS can now operate beyond line of sight from UAE air base
AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates - The EQ-4 Global Hawk flying missions from Al Dhafra Air Base (ADAB) can now operate beyond line of sight (BLOS), the Air Force has announced. Previously, the remotely piloted aircraft required coordination with other bases to control it while in the air, but now this can be done locally.
“The BLOS plays a major role because it allows us to fly the jet farther than any Launch and Recovery Element could ever before, utilizing Satellite communication as its main link rather than a Line Of Sight link,” says Senior Airman Seth Oatridge, 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron ground communication technician.
With the BLOS capability, EQ-4 pilots and maintainers can plan, launch and execute missions locally without relying on other bases for missions that require a bird to be in the sky 24/7.
“With everything being handled in house from all maintenance to the satellite communication work, it has drastically reduced the time it took us to ‘Scramble the Hawks’,” Oatridge says.
The Hawk Aircraft Maintenance Unit ground communication technicians are responsible for keeping this technology operational. The Global Hawk was equipped with the BLOS capability in Sept. 2018 at the Al Dhafra Air Base, and the crew of satellite communication troops and cyber systems operations work to make sure everything is operational.
“Anything that goes wrong with the equipment, we fix it,” says Senior Airman Michael Ha, 380th EAMXS grounds communication technician “Our main mission here is to provide that communication to our ground troops and the BLOS allows this. Without us, they wouldn’t be able to keep the links up and communicate with ground troops leading to a mission failure.”
The combined efforts between the Hawk AMU maintainers and the pilots of the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron has resulted in them now being able to locally conduct a number of different missions without having to reach back stateside for support.
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