BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif --
An RQ-4 Global Hawk flew to Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, on May 23, 2017 from Beale to receive a new, organic paint refurbishment.
It marks the first time an unmanned aerial vehicle of this type has flown to an Air Force air logistics complex and gone through airframe restoration.
The RQ-4 is a high altitude, long endurance airframe and Staff Sgt. Jason Grubb, 9th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron advance avionics supervisor stated that any imperfections on the aircraft's surface can have negative implications on its endurance capabilities.
“With the restoration we are expecting to see an increase in the aircraft's overall efficiency and a decrease in its time-to-climb.” said Grubb.
The fleet, located at Beale, includes about 30 Global Hawks, but only one aircraft was sent for the initial refurbishment. The organic component of the paint will help to prevent corrosion and deterioration of the aircraft, and keep it operating at full mission performance.
Airmen from the 9th AMXS were also sent to provide oversight to assist in qualifying Robins aviation mechanics for ground handling of the RQ-4, which will be a new capability for the base.
Grubb added that having mechanics from Robins qualified on ground handling of the RQ-4 facilitates future inspections that the fleet will need down the road.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk has become a critical asset to combatant commanders who use this aerial platform for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
The aircraft provides a clear picture of enemy positions effectively integrating with other aircraft and ground assets to prevail over hostile forces.
It provides multi-intelligence operations for six combatant commanders, and has been recognized as the safest aircraft in the Air Force inventory.