March 21, 2023

Japan-based U.S. Global Hawk drones to monitor North Korea and China

Drones will fill regional reconnaissance gaps, support interests of America’s Asian allies

The United States Air Force will soon begin operating two RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) out of Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture, Japan, to conduct reconnaissance on North Korea and China. U.S. and Japanese officials first announced the plan after a 2+2 meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera in Tokyo last October and operations are expected to start later this month.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance reconnaissance drone made by American aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman. The RQ-4 has been used heavily in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other surveillance operations in the Middle East and other regions.