Tokyo, Japan. In moves that escalate the Korean missile standoff, the USA will deploy global hawk drone attack aircraft to Japan.The United States has begun to move five Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Andersen Air Force Base on the island of Guam. The arrival of the first such drone to the Yokota Air Base in Tokyo was filmed by the Japanese NHK television channel.
The Global Hawk is operated by the United States Air Force. It is used as a high-altitude platform covering the spectrum of intelligence collection capability to support forces in worldwide military operations.
According to the United States Air Force, the superior surveillance capabilities of the aircraft allow more precise weapons targeting and better protection of friendly forces. Cost overruns led to the original plan to acquire 63 aircraft being cut to 45, and to a 2013 proposal to mothball the 21 Block 30 signals intelligence variants.
Each global hawk aircraft was costing US $60.9 million in 2001, but this has risen to $222.7 million per aircraft currently. The US Navy has developed the Global Hawk into the MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance platform.
More than 100 American technicians will also travel there to maintain and service the drones. The UAVs will be deployed in Japan temporarily, until October of this year. The decision that it would be a temporary deployment was based on the fact that operating high-altitude reconnaissance vehicles of this type from the island of Guam in the summer is largely dependent on weather conditions. After the UAVs are deployed in Japan, they can be used in the summer months.
In 2014 and 2015, the United States deployed such UAVs on a temporary basis to the American Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture. After 2020, the Japanese Ministry of Defense plans to receive three Global Hawk UAVs for their Air Self-Defense Forces. They will be deployed on their base in Misawa.
Considering the technical capabilities of these UAVs, the Japanese media suggested that they would be used to monitor the situation on the Korean Peninsula.