A View from Christopher Mims
Here Come the Arctic Drones
Northrup Grumman is having no trouble adapting its speeders to the cold.
As it becomes increasingly clear that climate change and the race for new sources of oil and gas are going to turn Earth’s poles into hotbeds of military contention, Northrup Grumman is responding by offering Canada a drone that can fly under even the harshest of conditions.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk has been used by the US military for surveillance since its introduction in 1998. And now it’s going to get a second life protecting Canada from the Reds, or whoever else wants to dispute their claims on their own resource-rich northern wastes.
Dubbed the Polar Hawk, the aircraft is a modified version of the basic Block 30 airframe. […] To meet Canada’s specific requirements, the aircraft’s satellite communications system has been modified to cope with the spotty coverage found in the arctic. The aircraft would also have wing deicing and engine anti-icing capability
The Polar Hawk can survey 40,000 square miles of territory a day, which means it would take only three of them to monitor all of Canada’s northern reaches. Which is good, because one Hawk plus all its support infrastructure is $215 million.