WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force's EQ-4 Global Hawk became the first weapon system to reach a 500-sortie milestone following a recent deployment.
The Global Hawk has logged nearly 13,000 flight hours. The unmanned aerial vehicle is used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. Staff Sgt. Bradley Keszler, a craftsman with the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, said the drone's durability is one of the leading reasons airmen have dubbed the aircraft the "workhorse."
"Reaching 500 flights is a pretty big accomplishment, especially for how new the fleet is," Keszler said.
The Global Hawk is designed for high-altitude, long-endurance missions, equipped with an integrated sensor suite that can provide real-time information in all weather conditions, day or night. The Air Force maintains the craft can find use in both wartime and peacetime operations.
Missions involving the Global Hawk typically last over 30 hours. Upon completion, the unmanned aerial vehicles rest for a day between missions.