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Global Hawk, here are the drones that depart from Sigonella for Ukraine

Global Hawk, here are the drones that depart from Sigonella for Ukraine

Every day, USAF's Global Hawk Northrop Grumman RQ-4B drones take off from Sigonella, the military logistic base south of Catania, in the direction of Ukraine. All the details

While Ukraine's airspace is closed to civilian flights, US remotely piloted military drones RQ-4 Global Hawk fly over the country for hours.

And in these operations, Sicily is at the forefront. As Il Messaggero said in recent days, the Global Hawk "takes off every day from the Sigonella base, south of Catania, and after three hours it is ready to spy on the moves of the pro-Russian militias from the Ukrainian skies and, just beyond the borders with Russia and Belarus, some troops from Moscow ”.

The US Air Force aircraft has a wingspan of nearly 40 meters and a length of 14 meters. It is made by the American Northrop Grumman. It can also fly up to 20,000 meters above sea level for more than 30 hours. This autonomy allows him to cover a radius of up to 100,000 square km of territory in a single mission.

According to the Air Force website , the mission of these aircraft is intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance "to support joint combat forces in peacetime, emergency and war operations around the world."

All the details.


On Monday evening, the first RQ-4 Global Hawk named “Forte11” returned to the Mediterranean after a nearly 24-hour voyage over Ukraine. His transponder was triggered at low altitude near the Naval Air Station of Sigonella in Sicily. It was the thirteenth similar mission, Reuters reports .

Meanwhile, yesterday evening "an RQ-4D Phoenix with an Italian registration number and managed by NATO took off from the Sigonella Air Base at about 22:00 UTC", Giacomo Cavanna reports today on AresDifesa . “The RQ-4D is based on the Global Hawk Block 40 – explains Cavanna – in service with the US Air Force and has been suitably modified according to the needs of the Atlantic Alliance. It is one of the most advanced drones available capable of performing high altitude and long range (Hale) surveillance missions ”.

“Even going back in time, there has hardly ever been a triple deployment of RQ-4 drones in a specific aircraft on the planet, not even during the recent crises in the Middle East,” commented Cavanna.


"It is a very dramatic moment – General Marco Bertolini, former commander of the Operational Command of the Joint Forces Summit, told Adnkronos , commenting on the tensions between Russia and Ukraine on February 22 ( before the military operation in Moscow on February 24): "Italy is involved from an energy point of view, because if they close the taps tonight we will cook with fire and not with gas".

But "we are also involved from an operational point of view – underlines the general – because the Global Hawks flying over Ukraine depart from Sigonella, Italy is a largely American military base ".


In addition to the Global Hawks for high-altitude strategic surveillance, the Sigonella base – from where the US Navy Naval air station (Nas) operates – hosts P-3 Orion and P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, unmanned aircraft type Hale (High Altitude Long Endurance), unmanned aircraft type "Male" (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) Armed Reaper, refueling aircraft and transport aircraft, plus a portion of Marines from the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa with MV-22 Osprey tiltrotors.

In 2019, NATO received the first of the 5 RQ-4D Global Hawk surveillance and strategic intelligence UAVs. The NATO AGS system, based in Singonella, includes a ground segment for control and analysis and an air segment consisting of 5 aircraft.


The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a $ 222 million unarmed spy drone that weighs 10 tons at takeoff and uses a Rolls Royce turbojet engine. It can survey an area the size of South Korea or Iceland in one day, according to Task & Purpose.

According to manufacturer Northrop Grumman, the aircraft see "potential threats" and "collect near real-time, high-resolution images of large swaths of the earth in all kinds of weather, day and night."

"The power of the Global Hawk instruments is such that two of these penultimate generation drones are enough to keep the whole of Ukraine under control, over 600 thousand square kilometers, double the size of Italy" underlines the Messenger .


Finally, through the Flightradar24 and Italmilradar sites, it is possible to monitor the path of the drones that depart from Italy and arrive at the theaters of the crisis.

“At this point, the drone pilot from Sicily – explains Il Messaggero – turns on all the optical, infrared and radar instruments for reconnaissance. The joystick pulses travel up to the front bouncing off the satellites thanks to the over 40 large antennas of the Muos system of the radio base in Ulmo, in the municipality of Niscemi ”.

As La Stampa reminds us , Muos is the "powerful system for the control of telecommunications of any kind that has four base stations scattered around the world and connected to each other, wanted, financed and managed by the Americans".

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Thu, 24 Feb 2022 11:46:23 +0000.