March 24, 2014

Global Hawk to deploy to Japan for first time

USAF plans to remove sensors from U-2 spy planes and fit them on Global Hawks to meet Budget sequestration.


Two Global Hawks, currently stationed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, will deploy to Misawa Air Base, Japan, from May to October, along with about 40 personnel, according to Pacific Air Forces.The Global Hawk already has experience flying over Japan. It was used to assist Japan in disaster relief and recovery following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The aircraft also assisted in the humanitarian response to last year’s tsunami in the Philippines.

Japanese ships in the past few years have encountered Russian and Chinese air and naval forces in international waters in the South China Sea. The deployment comes as the Air Force has switched its position from pushing to retire the Global Hawk fleet to now retiring the U-2. The Air Force said recent budget numbers have shown that the Global Hawk has dropped its price per flying hour to the point that it would be a better investment to keep the drone flying.

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