Hoeven and George Rumford, the director of DoD’s Test Resource Management Center, who is working to develop the Sky Range Program, spoke for 30 minutes about the project of converting Range Hawks to test hypersonic missiles. The Global Hawk Block 20s were decommissioned Wednesday afternoon, and Hoeven and company are working on plans to decommission the Block 30s as well.
“It took them a little longer to decommission because of Afghanistan and everything, so the 20s are last year’s business,” Hoeven said. “The 30s are this year’s business. So, it’s not done yet. The Sky Range program is underway, but we’re (funding) it and we’re taking it step by step.”
The DoD currently uses a fleet of ships in the Pacific Ocean to test hypersonic missiles while only being able to conduct four to six tests each year because of the extensive amount of time it takes to deploy and position the ships for testing. A concern among military leaders is that the process signals to adversaries that testing will begin. Sky Range allows modified Global Hawks, which deploy quickly and allow for increased testing, to replace the ships.
“But, guess what?” Hoeven said. “Our adversaries go, ‘Hey, they’re lining