Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk

Photo courtesy Air Force Link

Flying Bots: Global Hawk and Pointer

The military uses several different flying robots, mainly for reconnaissance. Instead of UGVs, these are known as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), and they are sometimes referred to as drones. UAVs look like model aircraft, and they range in size from small planes that can be held by a person and launched with a good throw, like the FQM-151 Pointer, to full-size airplanes that operate by remote control, like the RQ-4A Global Hawk.

RQ-4A Global Hawk

Global Hawk Specifications

  • Length: 44 ft 4.75 in (13.53 m)
  • Wingspan: 116 ft 2.5 in (35.42 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 2.5 in (4.64 m)
  • Weight empty: 14,800 lb (6,710 kg)
  • Weight max: 25,600 lb (11,600 kg)
  • Speed: 403 mph (648 kph)
  • Ceiling: 65,000 ft (19,800 m)
  • Range: 11,730 nautical miles (21,720 km)
  • Endurance: 36 hours
  • Propulsion: Rolls-Royce/Allison F137-AD-100 turbofan *Source: Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
FQM-151 Pointer

Pointer Specifications

AeroVironment FQM-151 Pointer

Photo courtesy AeroVironment, Inc.

  • Length: 6 ft (1.83 m)
  • Wingspan: 9 ft (2.74 m)
  • Weight: 9.6 lb (4.3 kg)
  • Speed: 50 mph (80 kph)
  • Ceiling: 985 ft (300 m)
  • Mission radius: 2.7 nautical miles (5 km)
  • Endurance: Primary batteries - 1 hour; Rechargeable batteries - 20 min
  • Propulsion: Electric motor *Source: Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles

AeroVironment FQM-151 Pointer

Photo courtesy AeroVironment, Inc.