Block 30 Global Hawks May Stay

Well, despite the fact that Air Force leaders insist that the U-2 can get the same job done for less cash, lawmakers are forcing the service to keep the block 30 RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude spy done.

The Air Force announced it was mothballing the Block 30s and keep the U-2 dragonlady’s that the RQ-4 was set to replace when it unvieled its new budget earlier this year. This was part of the Pentagon’s efforts to save billions of dollars over the next decade. The only probelm, well Congress — the same institution that ordered the massive cuts — doesn’t like the idea of shelving the existing RQ-4s.

So, during its markup of the FY-13 defense authorization bill, the House Armed Services Committee inserted $260 million to keep the the Air Force’s 18 Block 30 Global Hawks in service.

From Aol Defense:

The first slice of that funding appeared this morning on page 7 of a 190-page document released by the personnel subcommittee, with a statement that ” The committee recommends an increase in end strengths to reflect the corresponding manpower requirements to maintain 18 Air Force Block 30 RQ-4 Global Hawks.” A House source confirmed that the procurement and operations & maintenance funding to operate the Global Hawks would be in other subcommittee marks being released today and tomorrow.

No word yet on what this will mean for the U-2 fleet.


  • Joe

    If you are always claiming you are short ISR assets, why are you looking to shelve one of your most modern ISR assets?

    Perhaps the pilotless issue is at the core?

    • Tyler Totten

      I feel that may be at the heart of it, the pilot-less. Even if it isn’t, people will be in for a rude awakening if we ever get into a high-end conflict, drones will not be survivable and effective, command and control lines are too tenuous and easily severed to allow for their operation in that sort of conflict. They are great against low-end threats, just as good as a pilot in many cases, but sometimes you need to rely on radio silence and no communication for the mission. That and I am not interested in highly intelligent drones carrying them out for us, that is a bad road to go down, at least in terms of the survival of our species.

  • Concerned Taxpayer

    So, you’re going to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on an aircraft that the Air Force neither wants or needs??? Especially, if there’s an aircraft (U-2) that can do the same job (maybe even a better job) for way less. Wow…way to go, Congress (shaking my head)!!

  • Sgt_Buffy

    We have ’em, we might as well use ’em.

  • Pat

    Why does this have to be so complicated…

  • Rohan

    Yeah……type of complicated but really they are tough 30’es…..gonna be the best spy drone for the USAF. i
    ts markup of the FY-13 defense authorization bill, the House Armed Services Committee inserted $260 million to keep the the Air Force’s 18 Block 30 Global Hawks in service.

    gLoBaL hAwKS………………………. yOu rOcKsSsSsSsSsSsS

  • guess

    Cut defense spending! Wait no not that, I know you don’t like them but it is from my district. So… Lets increase procurement of that particular system.

    Oh congress…. :/

  • Christopher

    Really, Congress?? So, just forget about what DoD says about the Block 30, huh? You know everything, right?? I hate to break it to you, but I actually work with the Block 30, and it’s a piece of CRAP! This aircraft is worthless, and I was actually relieved that it was getting canceled! How exactly did you make this decision, Congress? Did you visit the Global Hawk locations? Did you speak to the personnel who actually work with this aircraft? I HIGHLY doubt it! You just made a knee-jerk decision that defied our President and our Department of Defense. You also slapped the taxpayers in the face by wasting BILLIONS of dollars on an aircraft that we don’t even need. Congrats on more money wasted! Bravo!!

    • Rocky

      Just more lobbying from Hugh Lyon Sack.

      There was a reason they moved their HQ to DC…

    • edincleve

      I’ve read a lot of comments about the Global Hawk, but you should know more about it than the others. What makes the GH “a piece of crap”. I’m not necessarily doubting you, I would just like to know what makes this “aircraft is worthless”.

      I would appreciate your response.


  • WRG01

    Congress is the same reason the USAF must maintain aircraft such as the C5 that needed to be culled from the herd many years ago…a drain on limited resources and not DoD’s fault….Congress’.

  • Kool Guy

    “well Congress — the same institution that ordered the massive cuts — doesn’t like the idea of shelving the existing RQ-4s” This is exactly what I mean when I say Republicans are stupid and don’t vote for any Republicans. They are a bunch of hypocrites. Looking at a different example, Republicans in Congress are the ones that cried the loudest about our country public deficit and blaming it on a Democrats President, but look at it again, this deficit is caused by the two wars (Iraq + Afghanistan) and a tax cut that the republicans are behind. The two wars was initiated by Bush (a republican president) with massive support from the Republican party, and the tax cut was also the idea of the Republicans party. Throughout thousand years of history, no country has ever gone to war with a tax cut, country would only raise tax to fund war. So this is funny how the Republicans want to go to war, cut tax, and have a balance budget. Mission Impossible 10

    • SHHHH

      First off, Dont blame the fact that we were in Afghanistan on Bush, last time I checked when we went there the entire nation supported the move. Second we dont have the best military in the world becasue we cut projects that are relacing out of date technology.

  • Lance

    This is stupidity 101. The USAF doesn’t want it it doesn’t outperform the U-2 but the Republicans want it. However I dont see this lasting since the Democratic senate and White House wont approve the bloated McKenon Bil and so this attempt will kill the DoD budget and more CRs for this year. Overall the Republicans are just Politically posturing and making them easier to defeat this fall.

  • mpower6428

    some politicians are throwing Boeing a bone me thinks.

  • jamesb




    I ALWAYS wondered if the Air Force didn’t have a SECRET fast mover doing overflights snooping?

  • jamesb

    Besides the X-37B….

  • tiger

    Put the U-2 to bed already.

  • Antonius Bauwens

    Wonder were these will be flying,the southern border is choice Bat point A we are very carefull after crash,or being taken by a electro sourch taken down in Iran?I wonder at times if we just give a zap to 2 enemie countries if all this is really needed…

  • blight_

    We’ve reached the point where SAR provides more interesting data than cameras on target.

  • Roland

    I believe tech like this should not go to waste. We spent billions on it so use it. The problem is we keep on building something without having an idea how many we need, it’s capability, reliability and what we were going to use it for in 20 years and against future enemy with the same tech. We need good QC and micro managers with excellent experience.