U.S., Japan consider Guam drone pact

Japan and the U.S. are considering plans to use Guam as a hub for spy drones to monitor Chinese naval activities in the Pacific, according to a report in the Japan Times.

The U.S. already has Global Hawks stationed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The U.S. Air Force plans to expand the number of spy drones at Andersen and welcome Japan drones over the next decade as the Japanese military plans to buy its own drone fleet.

Japan’s Self-Defense Force had planned to buy Global Hawks of its own before the deal was scuttled due to price concerns. The Japanese have remained confident in their plans to buy their own drones, especially as the Chinese naval fleet has stepped up their patrols throughout the Pacific.

Japanese military leaders currently fly the┬áP-3C patrol aircraft to monitor Chinese naval movements. The investment in a Global Hawk or the U.S. Navy’s version of the RG-4, the Triton, would be a considerable step up in Japan’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability.

U.S. and Japan air forces would share hangars and maintenance facilities for their drone fleets, according to the Japan Times report.

The U.S. Air Force’s Global Hawk arrived at Andersen in 2010. It’s the Air Force’s largest drone, although it does not carry weapons like the Predator or the Reaper.

U.S. Global Hawks from Guam flew missions over Japan after the massive tsunami obliterated the country. The Global Hawks provided intelligence and imagery for humanitarian clean up.

Northrop Grumman unveiled the RG-4C Triton in June as part of the U.S. Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program. It’s expected to fly a considerable chunk of it’s missions over the Pacific monitoring the Chinese and North Koreans.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • Nothing quite screams ignorance of unmanned systems as much as referring to a UAV a ‘drone’. And nothing quite screams tabloid jingoism as much as referring to a military reconnaissance and surveillance asset as a “spy” something or other. Just sayin’.

    • brok3n


      It’s something that commentators have left here in the past, but the ignorant author refuses to change the terminology. In his mind, he probably thinks the terms add more ‘pep’ to his ‘story’.

    • blight_

      Media has to get paid.

      I mean, “assault weapons” and “Teflon bullets” are proof that bang-bang is scary and shouldn’t be researched for veracity.

      • tiger

        Or those killer Toyota’s last year. Seriously folks learn to work a gear shift….
        Media finds cars scary too.

        • blight_

          Stickshift and no push-button start.

          Clutch-neutral, apply brakes, kill engine.

          However, we love our automatics and keys are too low tech. lul?

    • Leadership=Misguided

      Drone – an unmanned aircraft or ship guided by remote control.

      Thanks Merriam-Webster

      -SMSgt… go micro-manage somewhere else! :)

  • Joe

    I honestly believe most of this china mongering is hype designed to sell more stuff. That being said, nothing wrong with being prepared for it. Even though the next war we will be involved in will be in mexico and central america and probably africa as well.

  • Lance

    After tidal wave repaire to there nation the question is can they afford to buy RQ-4s.

  • MrMind

    Humanitarian assistance like this is a primo way of selling our capabilities. Good thing our tsunami machine is working, bwahaha.

  • Rod

    I’m not a fan of Chinese war mongering but if it’ll force them to play nicely with the other kids in the South China Sea playground, I’m all for it.

  • Ron

    Got’s to keep an eye out to China. They would like to be the Warlord in Asia, pushing little Asian countries around for territorial sovereignty for natural resources, can’t have that.

  • Nadnerbus

    The article substance aside, just re-read the headline and think about living 70 years ago. It would be incomprehensible gibberish. US and Japan agree on defensive moves? Drones? What the hell are drones?

    The world has moved so fast in the last century, and it is accelerating ever faster. Just the changes of the last ten years in civilian and military technology is astounding. I just hope we as humans are smart enough to keep up with and mange them, and not the other way around.

    • blight_

      Hopefully by the time we deploy fully autonomous drones we will hard-code Asimov’s Three Laws, and skip the zeroth law…

    • Dan

      This is a good to us. ASEAN to counter the increase movement of Red Chinese naval vessels in the Pacific ocean and The whole China sea especially the Western Philippine Sea.Let us protect our country to this beast, the dragon has awakened thinking that she is living still in the ancient time.” NO BILATERAL TALK WITH RED CHINA.” China respect and honor our United Nation charter of the international rule of the sea. Both of us, The Philippines and Red China are signatories of that charter.” The 200 nautical miles EEZ “.

  • Naval Aircrewman

    A step up from the Mighty P3 Orion? I think not, the multitude of MK1 “Eyeballs” looking out the windows of the P3 can look in many directions at once.

    • Random Brit

      That is true, but how does the P3 match in terms of endurance?

      • tiger

        it can fly for 35 hours & reach 65,000 ft

    • tiger

      Sadly, Eyeballs cost $$$ & benefits. Tight budgets are trying to do the job with less spending on both. While not so good for a lonely soul in a lifejacket with a signal mirror. Long term they will get a boring job done better. Personally I wish We had something like the Russian Beriev BE-200’s for the job.

  • analistainternacional

    China loves to run through your EEZ and this survelliance will check all chinese movement’s and after all, will see all new chinese stuff that they will deploy on sea or in the air.

  • QuantomForce

    Forget Japan who the hell needs them. All they do is complain and protest without contributing a damn thing. Their xenophobic attitude toward everything is only furthering their decline. Frankly we would be better off turning our focus elsewhere. The next thing you know they will be complaining about drones crashing lol. Time Japan join the rest of the world instead of being stuck in the 17th century. If South Korea can do it. No reason Japan can’t either.

    • Mother F

      Wow, an aviation troll. Do everyone a favor and crawl back under your rock.

    • tiger

      I’ll second the troll nomination. Your treating a friend like crap.

    • Leadership=Misguided

      You are the biggest bigot/idiot I’ve ever met. Try living in Japan for a few years and re-read your ignorant post. I spent 4 years there and there are found that there are no greater people on the planet than the Japanese and I’ve lived in 6 countries. They know how to treat their people and accommodate for foreigners.

      But I’m not Japanese… so I can say your a f*ckbag :) .

  • Eric Wurmstein

    Japan isn’t one of our allies, no matter how much they pretend to be. They have hated us since Word War II, but we both know they cannot face us directly, so they are resorting to “innocently” buying our technology.

    • orly?

      Actually VISIT this place called Japan, and then try talking your crap.

    • blight_

      Are they still Tojos to you?

    • Leadership=Misguided

      Hey Eric,

      You’re an idiot.


  • Lisa Morrison

    Seems like the Japanese have you all fooled. Well they do say ignorance is bliss lol. Japan doesn’t hate americans per say. They don’t like any foreigners which don’t look Japanese. If you guys are buying into that polite facide crap you really are fools. What Japanese really think vs what they say are two different things. They might act polite but under the surface they are very narrow minded people. Have you ever noticed that 99% of the crimes that are committed by Japanese citizens never get reported on. A Japanese policeman assaults a 11 year old girl and nothing happens. Yet if a military personal commits the same crime it
    makes national news. Japanese media paints a picture that all
    Foreigners should be looked on with guilt as they will eventually
    commit a crime in Japan. As though all foreigners are connected
    through the ceribal cortex lol. Just like all non Japanese are
    violent criminals waiting to terrorize Japanese citizens! I am not
    saying all Japanese are like this. Yet if you have been in Japan for
    any period of time. You will find that the whole polite demeanor
    is a front. Japan hasn’t changed as much as people think they have.

    ever have anything