Global Hawk Deployment an Opportunity for US, Japan

Pacific Air Forces officials said the first deployment of the RQ-4 Global Hawk to Misawa AB, Japan, is going well, with weather patterns not affecting sortie generation in any meaningful way thus far. The operating location in the north of Japan is proving to be ideal, Col. Dan Wolf, PACAF’s chief of warfighter integration at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, told Air Force Magazine in early July. “It’s very early, but based on our analysis, it’s a better move for us because of weather patterns,” he said, adding that the Global Hawk is better able to get airborne more frequently and has fewer inclement weather delays than at Andersen AFB, Guam, for example. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force is excited to have the capability operating from Misawa and is interested in seeing how it performs, he said. Japan has expressed interest in expanding its portfolio of unmanned intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets, and, specifically, in acquiring Global Hawks. “We view [the deployment] as an opportunity for future discussions with our JASDF partners,” said Wolf. PACAF officials said there are no plans currently to rotate the Global Hawk to any other air base in Japan, such as Kadena on Okinawa.