The U.S. Air Force has selected 10 enlisted airmen to participate in an October RQ-4 Global Hawk pilot training course as part of an initiative to develop future operating concepts within the service branch’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance enterprise.
The Air Force said Wednesday it expects the first batch of enlisted airmen to graduate from the course in 2017 and upon completion undergo the same training the branch’s remotely-piloted aircraft pilots tackle in terms of flight training, rules and responsibilities.
“Looking at new ways to operate within our RPA enterprise is critical given that ISR missions continue to be the number one most requested capability by our combatant commanders,” said Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff.
“We’ll take this important step in a deliberate manner so that we can learn what works and what we’ll need to adjust as we integrate our highly capable enlisted force into flying this weapons system,” added Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James.
The service branch added new enlisted pilots will undergo undergraduate RPA training on how to fly DA-20 Falcon units, as well as RPA instrument qualification and Fundamentals courses and Global Hawk basic qualification programs.
RQ-4 Global Hawk is an unmanned aircraft built by Northrop Grumman to provide global all-weather, day or night intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support for joint combatant forces in worldwide peacetime, contingency and wartime operations.