Photo: author’s archive via US Army
Photo: author’s archive via ameliaairheart
Challenger 650 carrying ARTEMIS reconnaissance system operated by civilian company Leidos based on the US Army contract.
In the ADS-B screenshot we can clearly see the “tactical retreat” of the USAF RQ-4B 2039 call sign
“Forte 12” which at 3:24 am on February 24, 2022, left the Ukrainian airspace in Donbas area which
begun to transform into the “hot zone” due to the commencing Russian attack. Until the war outbreak
thanks to these reconnaissance flights NATO certainly had a good picture about the Russian units’
movements and locations on their territory bordering with Ukraine.
Photo: author’s archive
The map depicts the reconnaissance flights of the unmanned RQ-4 Global Hawk and RC-135W Rivet
Joint on April 10, 2022. It is well visible that the unmanned Global Hawks operate in the international
airspace above the Black Sea and thanks to it they are able to “see” further. Nevertheless the “blind
area” in north-western Ukraine can be seen where in the end of April the Russian army is attempting
to break the Ukrainian lines near Izyum and other cities in LOC. ISR flights performed around Ukraine
borders are performed by USAF RQ-48 as well as five RQ-4D belonging to the joint NATO-AGS unit
(Alliance Ground Surveillance) flying out of Sigonella base in Sicily.