Christopher Mims

A View from Christopher Mims

Here Come the Arctic Drones

Northrup Grumman is having no trouble adapting its speeders to the cold.

  • May 30, 2012

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.

Because moose aren’t the only thing in Canada’s north.

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

Fightglobal reports:

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.

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