USAF to Cut Global Hawk Surveillance Drones, Revive 50 Year-Old U-2 Spy Plane Program

From Defense News:

The U.S. Air Force wants to terminate the Block 30 Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude unmanned surveillance aircraft, breathing new life into the five-decade-old U-2 program, the Defense Department announced Jan. 26.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the Pentagon would stop buying the Block 30 version of the Global Hawks, which are designed to collect imagery and signals intelligence. The Air Force would also mothball what remains of its recently acquired fleet.

The Block 30 “had priced itself out of the niche,” Carter said. “That’s the fate of programs that are too expensive.”

Should we bring back the old suits, too?

The Air Force had been planning to buy 42 Block 30 aircraft. According to 2011 budget documents, the cost of each aircraft was around $215 million. It was not immediately clear how many Global Hawks the Air Force has.

The full story is here.