NZ airspace on the route for giant US military drones

Oh oops, missed this one:

Here is my question, in fact I have several ones:

  • Why was this a secret?
  • Why is NZ en route for these monstrosities?
  • Are these drones nuclear driven? (It seems that the answer to that one is that they still fly on conventional fuel
  • Why is the Luftwaffe of Germany flying these things?
  • And why is the New Zealand air force keeping a “watching brief” over these things?

The United States has flown highly sophisticated Global Hawk drones through New Zealand airspace, official papers reveal.

With a price tag of $250 million and a wingspan greater than a 737 airliner, Global Hawk surveillance aircraft are amongst the largest and most expensive unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The US has tried to keep their operations secret.

But Civil Aviation Authority documents released to the Herald under the Official Information Act say the mega-drones have flown numerous times in New Zealand airspace.

“Most [UAV] activity is from military users who are well informed and usually conduct operations away from the commercial airspace corridors,” reads an issue assessment paper from last year.

“There have already been a number of occasions when Global Hawks [35-40 metre wing span, 3 tonne payload] have traversed New Zealand’s oceanic airspace transiting between Australia and the US.”

 Massey University senior lecturer Jim Veitch, of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies, said such surveillance flights had been linked with Afghanistan.

But flights could be related to other security issues in the region, including China’s activities in the South China Sea.

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