USAF deploys RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV to Yokota Air Base in Japan


The US Air Force (USAF) has sent an RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to Yokota Air Base, Japan, for a five-month deployment.

Forming a part of the 69th Reconnaissance Group, Detachment 1, the aircraft has been deployed to provide near real-time aerial imagery reconnaissance support to US and partner nations assisting in a multitude of operations.

The USAF's drone will be used to conduct a survey to examine ballistic missiles and nuclear facilities in North Korea, The Japan Times reported.

The Yokota base will control the take-off and landing of the drone, which will be later controlled from the US after reaching a sufficient altitude.

The UAV has the ability to capture aerial images and electronic data from an altitude of more than 50,000ft, the newspaper reported, citing Japan's Ministry of Defense.

"The UAV has the ability to capture aerial images and electronic data from an altitude of more than 50,000ft."

Yokota base will receive four more Global Hawks and 105 personnel from Detachment 1, 69th Reconnaissance Group.

Detachment 1 commander lieutenant colonel Jeremy Fields was quoted by the Stars and Stripes newspaper as stating that the US will help Japan in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and counter-piracy and counter-terrorism missions.

In March, a USAF B-1B Lancer bomber conducted bilateral training missions with Japanese and South Korean counterparts to improve the operational units' joint capabilities and tactical skills. 

The assignments involved Japan's F-15J Eagles and Republic of Korea Air Force's F-15K Slam Eagles and F-16s.


Image: An RQ-4 Global Hawk approaches Yokota Air Base, Japan. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe.