Strategic US RQ-4 Global Hawk drones have been actively gathering intelligence on Russian forces in Crimea and southern Ukraine in recent weeks. As the flights have become more frequent recently, after there was talk of a Ukrainian counter-offensive in the direction of Kherson.
The US provides Ukraine with tactical intelligence and drones flying over the Black Sea are used to collect it.
The Global Hawk drone spent more than 24 hours in the air during its last flight over the Black Sea. He was escorted by two F-18 fighter jets. According to Flight Radar data, the drone took off from the Italian Sigonella base to Catania.
The basing of the RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance drones in Sigonella began already in 2019, and there are five such machines there. They are jointly owned by NATO member countries and provide intelligence for all.
After taking off from Italy, the drone passed over Bulgaria and entered the airspace over the Black Sea. For 24 hours, he circled south of Crimea, using mainly Bulgarian and Romanian airspace.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk drones are manufactured by the American company “Northrop Grumman” and the price of one unit is 170 million dollars. They can reload in the air and are designed to gather intelligence from high altitude. The Italian-based machines have been in active use since the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine in February. As the first drone flights, they broke records from users who tracked their flights through Flight Radar.