Mar 31, 2014
Scrapping U-2 Won't Save As Much As Touted
To upgrade Northrop Grumman’s Block 30 Global Hawk, the Air Force intends to invest about $1.77 billion over the next 10 years. About $500 million of that is marked for a universal payload adapter that would allow U-2 sensors to be attached to the RQ-4 Global Hawk.
The Pentagon’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal submitted this month recommends retiring the U-2 fleet, which the Air Force has said will save about $2.2 billion. Subtract the $1.77 billion needed to upgrade the Global Hawk, and the savings drop to only $430 million.
The two aircraft perform a similar high-altitude ISR mission. But as recently as February, service leaders argued that the Global Hawk does not meet the full capabilities of the U-2 at a higher cost, and that politics was behind the push to keep the Global Hawk.