The State Department approved Japan’s request to purchase three RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft, notifying Congress of a potential foreign military sale Nov. 20, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced. “The proposed sale of the RQ-4 will significantly enhance Japan’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and help ensure that Japan is able to continue to monitor and deter regional threats,” the release stated. Japan requested to purchase both Global Hawks and a modernized variant of the E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft the Japan Air Self Defense Force currently operates, back in January. The proposed $1.2 billion FMS for three Block 30 Global Hawks would include the aircraft’s standard synthetic aperture radar, ground moving target indication, and advanced electro-optical sensors, according to the release. The sale would also include contractor logistical support, spares, training, ground support equipment, and other essential support. Air Force Global Hawks routinely rotate to Misawa AB, Japan, providing ample opportunity for joint operations and training.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.