Northrop Grumman's RQ-4 Global Hawk will replace the US Air Force (USAF) Lockheed U-2 spy plane in 2015, according to Air Force officials.
US Air Force's Global Hawk functional manager Lt. Col. Rick Thomas said: "No U-2s in the Air Force in fiscal year 2015."
Defense News also reported Thomas as saying he is confident the RQ-4 will match the capabilities provided by the U-2.
Before replacing the U-2, however, the Global Hawk will have to carry the aircraft's high resolution wet film camera, Optical Bar Camera.
"We're looking at a cooperative effort with industry to look at a universal mount," he added.
Doubts have been raised, however, that the Global Hawk will ever live up to what was originally promised as the sensors are currently sub-par and "will continue to be well below par."