Since 2016, its been reported that America has flown reconnaissance flights along the front line in eastern Ukraine. In Sept 2018 the Ukrainian military posted a video detailing such flights by RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV.
Well now the US has confirmed they do indeed fly RQ-4 Global Hawk’s in Ukraine. On March 11th, Radio Svoboda informed us the United States Air Force provides Ukraine with the intelligence gathered during these flights. Talking with the Press service of the US Air Force in Europe and Africa, Captain Christopher Boyer-Mider said – All missions are carried out in full coordination with the host countries.
These big beast UAV provide high resolution, near real-time imagery over a large geographic area. They have the ability to record a total flight coverage of some 40,000nm² (nautical miles) a day. They’ve got an impressive range of 14,000nm (25,000km) and can stay in the air for 42 hours. To avoid anti-aircraft systems, they can fly to an altitude of 65,000ft. More info via – Air Force Technology website.
Image below is from the aforementioned Sept 2018 Ukrainian military video.
Shows route taken by a US UAV. First flies north/east and along the front line in Ukraine’s Luhansk Oblast (province). It then turns around and heads south, down into the Donetsk Oblast. It completes its run by filming the front line around the Ukrainian held city of Mariupol on the Azov Sea. The front line is around 450km long.
Type of data the US is likely to pass on.
1 – Military forces and hardware massing in an area.
2 – Imagery of military bases and smaller camps.
3 – Fortifications/trenches along the front line.
4 – Imagery of military hardware.
5 – Imagery of trains, military supply depots & help in identifying buildings used by Russia’s forces.
Below are some images a couple of videos on the UAV.
First video is related to the March 11th Radio Svoboda report.