Northrop Grumman has successfully completed the first flight of Japan’s RQ-4B Global Hawk UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) from Palmdale, California. The high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) aircraft will integrate with other Japanese intelligence assets, including ground-based command and control units, and provide the country’s forces with near real-time on-demand data around the clock.
Featuring a powerful combination of range, endurance, and payload capability, Global Hawk provides greater data collection flexibility than space or medium-altitude assets, and will allow Japan to monitor and deter regional threats and give the country a highly effective national security posture well into the future.
Northrop Grumman’s family of autonomous HALE systems, including Global Hawk, are a critical component of networked, global ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) collection for allied nations and mutual defense organizations around the world, enabling decision-makers to act with the right information at the right time. When Japan’s Global Hawk fleet is fully operational, it will be part of a growing list of allied nations operating HALE UAV platforms, including the United States, Australia, NATO and Korea.
Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager of autonomous systems at Northrop Grumman, commented: “The unarmed RQ-4B Global Hawk will provide Japan with on-demand intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information supporting the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s missions of protecting borders, monitoring threats and providing humanitarian assistance in times of need. This successful first flight is a significant milestone in delivering Global Hawk to our Japanese allies.”