The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft with an integrated sensor suite that provides global all-weather, day or night intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability. Global Hawk's mission is to provide a broad spectrum of ISR collection capability to support joint combatant forces in worldwide peacetime, contingency and wartime operations. The Global Hawk provides persistent near-real-time coverage using imagery intelligence (IMINT), moving target indicator (MTI), and Battlefield Airborne Communication Node (BACN) sensors.
Established in early 1942 as a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombardment squadron; trained first in the Pacific Northwest, but the poor flying weather in the northwest forced a relocation to Sioux City AAB, Iowa, for the second and third phases of training.
Activated in the reserves in 1947, however the 348th was never equipped or manned. Inactivated in 1949. Reactivated in 1953 as a Strategic Air Command strategic reconnaissance squadron and, later, bombardment squadron at Fairchild AFB, Washington, flying RB/B-36s. Engaged in worldwide strategic bombardment training and stood nuclear alert until 1956 when the B-36 was retired. Re-equipped with the B-52 Stratofortress and continued training and nuclear alert status. Deployed to Pacific during Vietnam War, engaging in Arc Light combat missions over North Vietnam; also deployed to Thailand flying out of U-Tapao RTNAF for combat missions over Cambodia and Laos. Inactivated in 1973 with the inactivation of the parent 99th Bombardment Wing and closure of Westover AFB. Activated in 2011, and afterwards began flying the R/E-Q4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft for reconnaissance missions.
Constituted 348th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 28 Jan 1942
Activated on 1 Jun 1942
Inactivated on 8 Nov 1945
Redesignated 348th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on 13 May 1947
Activated in the reserve on 17 July 1947
Inactivated on 27 Jun 1949
Redesignated 348th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy)
Activated on 1 Jan 1953.
Redesignated 348th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 1 Oct 1955
Inactivated on 31 Mar 1974
Redesignated 348th Reconnaissance Squadron on 17 Aug 2011
99th Bombardment Group, 1 Jun 1942-8 Nov 1945; 29 May 1947-27 Jun 1949
99th Strategic Reconnaissance (later Bombardment) Wing, 1 Jan 1953-30 Sep 1973
69th Reconnaissance Group, 11 Sep 2011 - present
Orlando AAF, Florida, June 1, 1942
MacDill Field, Florida, June 1, 1942
Pendleton Field, Oregon, June 29, 1942
Gowen Field, Idaho, August 28, 1942
Walla Walla AA Field, Washington, September 30, 1942
Sioux City AAB, Iowa, November 18, 1942 – January 3, 1943
Navarin Airfield, Algeria, February 22, 1943 – March 25, 1943
Oudna Airfield, Tunisia, August 4, 1943
Tortorella Airfield, Italy, December 11, 1943
Marcianise, Italy, c. October 27 – November 8, 1945
Brookley Field, Alabama, 29 May 1947-27 Jun 1949.
Fairchild AFB, Washington, January 1, 1953
Westover AFB, Massachusetts, September 4, 1956 – 30 September 1973
Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota, September 11, 2011-Present
B-17 Flying Fortress, 1942–1945
B/RB-36 Peacemaker, 1953–1956
B-52 Stratofortress, 1956–1973
RQ-4 Global Hawk, 2011–Present