U.S. Giving Japan a Global Hawk Drone, First Test Flight Completed Successfully

Global Hawk for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force 1 photo
Photo: Northrop Grumman
America has always been into sharing, especially more so when that sharing brings with it an advantage of some kind. When it comes to military assets, that advantage of course means greater protection, and the nation doesn’t shy away from sending its best hardware overseas, to be operated by allied nations.
Take the Global Hawk drone, for instance. Already a pillar of American military operations, the uncrewed flying machine is also deployed by Australia, South Korea, and some NATO nations. Soon though, Japan will be joining this select group.

Northrop Grumman, the maker of the Global Hawk, announced in mid-April it completed the first test flight of an RQ-4B variant of the drone in Palmdale, California. It’s an unarmed piece of equipment that once deployed will help Japan with “protecting borders, monitoring threats and providing humanitarian assistance in times of need,” as the company’s general manager for autonomous systems, Jane Bishop, said in a statement.

“This successful first flight is a significant milestone in delivering Global Hawk to our Japanese allies,” the official added.

There are no details on the exact specifications of the drone meant to be deployed by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, but we do know it will be integrated with ground-based command and control units.

The Global Hawk had its first flight all the way back in 1998, and entered service three years later. Since then, it has clocked 250,000 flight hours with American forces over Iraq, Afghanistan, and North Africa.

Taking its power from a turbofan engine, the drone can cruise at a maximum speed of 357 mph (575 kph). The thing can go for extreme distances on a single outing, as its range is rated at over 10,000 miles (16,000 km), being capable of staying in the air more than 30 hours at a time.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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