YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The Air Force wants to save money by scrapping plans to replace the Cold War-era U-2 spy plane with the high-tech Global Hawk reconnaissance drone, a defense analyst said Tuesday.
Loren Thompson wrote in his blog that the Air Force plans to sacrifice the most common variant of the Global Hawk — the Block 30 — as a “bill payer” in its 2013 budget request, retiring those already in use and halting further production by defense giant Northrup Grumman.
In addition, Bloomberg News reported that an unnamed U.S. official said the Pentagon has accepted an Air Force recommendation to reduce its purchases of the Block 30 and shift money to continued operations and maintenance of the high-altitude U-2 manned reconnaissance aircraft, which first entered service in the mid-1950s.
The long-distance, high-altitude Global Hawk has been used extensively in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan to feed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information to armed drones such as the Predator and Reaper.
Continue reading article: Analyst: Drone no longer in Air Force plans to replace U-2 spy plane (Stars & Stripes)