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The US Air Force’s (USAF) RQ-4 Global Hawks have returned to Yokota Air Force Base (AFB) in Japan from Andersen AFB in Guam.

To support the US Indo-Pacific Command reconnaissance requirements, the Pacific Air Forces conducted a rotation of the air vehicle, ensuring continuous operations.

Owned by the USAF 319th Reconnaissance Wing Det 1, the rotation provides a stable location to the aircraft.

During unfavourable weather conditions, including typhoon activities, the platform can be operated.

USAF 319th Operations Group Det. 1 commander Lieutenant Colonel Ben Craycraft said: “Having alternate locations to execute our mission during seasons of inclement weather ensures our ability to continue executing US Indo-Pacific Command and the Alliance reconnaissance requirements in support of the defence of Japan and to maintain international peace and security in the region.”

The Global Hawk’s mission will support a range of US intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) collection capabilities for worldwide operations, including multiple search-and-rescue missions in Japan.

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Additionally, the long-endurance aircraft has conducted humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations including Operation TOMODACHI.

The remotely piloted and unarmed, aerial reconnaissance system has been designed to provide continuous, day and night, high-resolution, all-weather imagery of large geographic areas using integrated sensors and cameras.

USAF 374th Airlift Wing commander Colonel Otis Jones said: “Yokota Air Base continues to demonstrate it is one of the most effective and capable bases to safely receive aircraft and personnel during annual rotations or during a crisis or contingency.

“Whether it’s an unseen enemy like the coronavirus or more visible threats like typhoons, Team Yokota is ready to ensure our partners and allies can continue their mission from a reliable airfield.”