According to the information released by the spokesman for the Estonian Ministry of Defence, US RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV was going to enter the Estonian airspace, coming from Latvia. The flypast was going to take place at the altitude of 15-18 kilometres. The purpose of the sortie was to asses cooperation with the Estonian ATC organs, should any non-standard situation take place in the air.
The Estonian Ministry of Defence announced that the above event was going to be the first flypast of such aircraft over the Estonian territory. The flight was being coordinated with the Estonian Civil Aviation Authorities, and it was going to be carried out in line with civil flight rules.
RQ-4 is a reconnaissance UAV manufactured by Northrop Grumman. The system is being used by the United States Air Force, US Navy and NASA. It is a HALE class UAV (High Altitude, Long Endurance), capable of staying in the air for more than 30 hours at operational ceiling of 18 000 meters. RQ-4 uses communications and reconnaissance systems that make it possible to transmit the gathered data in real time. Its deployment range is close to 23,000 kilometres.
Australia and South Korea are some of the states that got interested in procurement of the above-described UAV system. Global Hawk UAV’s are going to become the basic building block for the NATO AGS reconnaissance system, involving Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, among other member states.