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Global Hawk Arrives At Yokota Air Base In Japan

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Global Hawk Arrives At Yokota

(Source: US Air Force; issued May 01, 2017)


An RQ-4 Global Hawk pulls into a hangar May 1, 2017 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, after flying in from Guam, its main operating base in the Pacific. (USAF photo)


An RQ-4 Global Hawk approaches Yokota Air Base, Japan, May 1, 2017. The aircraft is part of the 69th Reconnaissance Group Detachment 1 and provides near real-time aerial imagery reconnaissance support to U.S. and partner nations assisting in multitude of operations.

This capability was effectively employed during Operation Tomodachi, a relief effort launched when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake resulted in a tsunami that ravaged northeastern Japan in 2011.

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U.S. Deploys Guam-Based High-Altitude Surveillance Drone to Yokota Base

(Source: Japan Times; published May 2, 2017)

An RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone arrived at Yokota Air Base Monday night, starting a five-month operation in Tokyo, the U.S. base announced.

A Defense Ministry source said that the aircraft could be used to conduct surveillance of North Korea, over which political tensions have been ratcheted up over the past month.

The aircraft is part of the 69th Reconnaissance Group Detachment 1 and provides near real-time aerial imagery reconnaissance support to U.S. and partner nations, according to the base’s website.

The aircraft was flown from its home at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to avoid typhoons there, the Stars and Stripes quoted Detachment 1 commander Col. Jeremy Fields as saying.

The drones and members of the detachment normally travel from their Guam home base to operate out of Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture during the summer to avoid typhoons, but that wasn’t possible last year or this year because of renovations to the runway at Misawa, the paper quoted Fields as saying.

Fields didn’t comment to the paper on the role that the aircraft might play during the current spate of tensions on the Korean Peninsula but said that the detachment’s operational tempo is normal.

Their mission involves partnering with Japan and helping with humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and counterpiracy and counterterrorism, he told the paper.

According to Defense Ministry officials, the drone is capable of capturing aerial images and electronic data from an altitude of around 50,000 feet or more — higher than the altitude commercial aircraft fly at.

Global Hawks do not have offensive capabilities. The Defense Ministry has decided to introduce three of them for the Self-Defense Forces, and will start deploying one at Misawa at the end of fiscal 2019.

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