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Northrop Grumman used a fictitious war with Iran to sell its Global Hawk drone to the Pentagon

Published: July 1, 2019
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Source: quartz

More than a decade before Iran shot down a US military RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone on June 20, its manufacturer pitched the Department of Defense on expanding the fleet by presenting a hypothetical conflict with the Islamic Republic.

In a 2008 briefing document, Northrop Grumman presented the Pentagon with an analysis of the “future security environment” and how the Global Hawk drone might play a central role. An at-the-time imaginary war with Iran features heavily in the sales pitch.

The document was produced by the Northrop Grumman Analysis Center, a self-described in-house “think tank.” Quartz found it hosted in an obscure corner of the company’s website, along with a dozen or so other studies on topics ranging from laser weapons to stealth technology.

The 11-year-old paper also considers other uses for the Global Hawk, including maritime operations and border security. All in, Northrop Grumman recommended the Pentagon purchase 157 of its Global Hawk drones.

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