NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

BEALE AFB: Mission Update

From UV in the UK, at the UV/America Conference.

Global Hawk will not be fully operation until 2008. The plan is to buy 50 total. Does this indicate overseas depolyment?
First operational USAF RQ-4 Global Hawk arrived in November at Beale AFB, Calif, and while the operational doctrine and plans still must be decided, the Vice Commander of the VIIIth Air Force says they will strictly control access by users seeking to use its services. ‘We have to. We are determined to get hold of this problem – a problem you can call ‘Global Hawk success,’ ’ BG Kim McKenzie told the conference. Steps being contemplated include ‘fully prioritised’ requests that will have been justified in advance. Additionally, ‘all new requirements that come up must now be fully funded before we accept them,’ she said. Finally, to qualify for a new application for the Ghawk, there must now be a pre-approved maintenance plan as well.

McKenzie said the VIIIth will be up and operational with the Global Hawk by 2008, although there will be some level of operation prior to that. And McKenzie left no illusions about the importance of the asset in USAF, despite horror stories about rising costs. ‘We fully intend to buy 50 of them,’ although she admitted current budgetary means for moving towards that number are constrained in the short term.
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