Does anyone know anything about the mysterious RQ-4 Global Hawk crash that occurred downrange — possibly just inside Pakistan close to the Afghan city of Jalalabad — last August?
The Air Force’s crash report database doesn’t allow you to open up the accident investigation board’s report on the incident which received surprisingly little media coverage. I say this because the Global Hawk is a big, jet-powered strategic intelligence plane, packed with some very advanced and expensive spy gear as opposed to the smaller and much cheaper low-flying MQ-1 Predator or MQ-9 Reaper drones that crash on a regular basis. The last time a Global Hawk was lost was 2002 (another might have crashed in 2009, according to these Air Force stats but I can’t find a record of it in the crash report database).
(The Northrop Grumman-issued picture above gives a good sense of just how big the plane is. It shows the jet at a the Seoul Air Show in South Korea.)
If a U-2, the plane that the Block 30 and 40 versions of the Global Hawk will eventually replace (when it gets over its teething issues and enters full production), went down, it would be a big deal.
I’ve asked the Air Force for comment but mum’s the word from the boys in blue so far.
The only thing resembling a news report that a quick Google search turned up is this crowdsourced article from Pakistan, and the article’s date doesn’t quite match up with the Aug. 20, 2011 crash date listed by the Air Force. The Google search did however, bring up plenty about the crash of China’s Global Hawk rival that happened two days later on Aug. 22., an incident that seems to have out-shined the RQ-4 crash.
Sound off in the comments if you’ve heard any more about the crash.