Unmanned US Spy Plane
Takes To The Skies

SAN DIEGO (CNN) -- Although the Air Force could conceivably use its newest spy plane to look for speeders on the highways, it has moreambitious plans for the sophisticated Global Hawk.
Flying at 65,000 feet, the Global Hawk "can read license plates," says Claude Hesham, vice president of Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical, which helped design the plane.
Created in conjunction with the U.S. military, the Global Hawk is the first high-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned aerial reconnaissance system. In layman's terms, it's a spy plane that flies on its own.
The Global Hawk can fly for 40 hours at a time with the help of two computers preprogrammed for navigation.
Hesham said a 56-minute test flight over Edwards Air Force Base last weekend marked a tremendous accomplishment for Teledyne Ryan and a breakthrough for the military: the United States now has capability to send planes into hostile areas without risking anyone's life.
Reporter Debra Takahara contributed to this report.

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