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Originally published January 25, 2012 at 6:19 AM | Page modified January 25, 2012 at 6:35 AM

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Pentagon to cut Air Force drone program

Officials say Pentagon budget cuts will end the Air Force's long-range surveillance drone known as the Global Hawk, but keep the Navy's version of the unmanned aircraft.

Associated Press

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WASHINGTON —

Officials say Pentagon budget cuts will end the Air Force's long-range surveillance drone known as the Global Hawk, but keep the Navy's version of the unmanned aircraft.

Defense analyst Loren Thompson says defense officials have decided to rely on the less expensive, high-altitude U-2 spy plane, which has a shorter range but has been used in Asia, particularly to keep an eye on North Korea.

Thompson, who is with the Virginia-based Lexington Institute, says the Global Hawk, which can stay airborne for 24 hours, would be more valuable as the Pentagon shifts focus to the vast Pacific region.

Officials say that while Air Force Block 30 version is being cut, the Navy's variant could be used by the Air Force. Global Hawks are made by Northrop Grumman Corp.

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