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Global Hawk in Philippine disaster relief efforts



The USAF used the UAV to provide surveillance capabilities during relief efforts, collecting and disseminating electro-optical (EO) imagery to US and Philippine authorities to assist with infrastructure and damage assessments. The imagery was also used to aid in the logistical assessments of roads, airports and fields to help relief teams swiftly reach displaced survivors.


The Global Hawk flew three sorties from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to the Philippines and back on 14, 16 and 20 November. In total, the aircraft collected approximately 1,000 planned images and a number of ad hoc collections on each sortie.

Jim Culmo, vice president, high altitude long endurance enterprise, Northrop Grumman, said: ‘Mission planning in a crisis is hard, but having the ability to task and retask Global Hawk gives commanders the flexibility to conduct productive ISR missions that feed near real-time information to the response teams who need it the most.’

Global Hawk has supported humanitarian missions including the 2007 Southern California wild fires; the 2010 Haiti earthquake;  and the UAV collected data and imagery within the radiation zones over the Fukushima power plant following Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. 

Global Hawk has also logged more than 100,000 flight hours and has been used over battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

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