Japan, South Korea ‘Going for’ Global Hawk Drones, Official Says

U.S. Air Force EQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft is positioned in front of an RQ-4 Global Hawk at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Nov. 11, 2015.Three RQ-4 Global Hawks were converted to an EQ-4 relay configuration carrying the Battlefield Airborne Communication Node (BACN) in 2009. (Photo by Frank Miller/U.S. Air Force)U.S. Air Force EQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft is positioned in front of an RQ-4 Global Hawk at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, Nov. 11, 2015.Three RQ-4 Global Hawks were converted to an EQ-4 relay configuration carrying the Battlefield Airborne Communication Node (BACN) in 2009. (Photo by Frank Miller/U.S. Air Force)

The U.S. Air Force plans to sell at least three high-altitude Global Hawk drones to Japan and four to South Korea as part of an effort to better arm and equip allies in the Pacific theater, senior service officials said.

“South Korea and Japan are going for the Global Hawk,” Heidi Grant, undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

The U.S. already deploys RQ-4 Global Hawks made by Northrop Grumman Corp. from Japan through a cooperative arrangement, launching the large surveillance drones from a Japanese base to beam back video feeds across the region from strategically vital regions — such as the South China Sea.

“We need our international partners to do more. Our Air Force is the smallest it has been in our history and we don’t have the capacity,” Grant said.

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Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior.