Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk
A Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft presented to the Japanese press in California in October 2010. (photo courtesy Yomiuri Shimbun file photo”
The Japan News
11 May 2014
By Tsuyoshi Takasawa and Katsufumi Mano / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writers
Full-scale large military drone operations will start shortly in Japan and its nearby airspace to monitor Chinese military activities and North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.
The U.S. Air Force plans to deploy two Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles to its Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture late this month and the Air Self-Defense Force plans to procure three UAVs of the same type in fiscal 2015 and later.
However, experts warn that regulations on their flights must be put in place because Japan’s current aviation laws lack clear stipulations on large drones.
A pilot’s seat for a Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle used by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (Photo courtesy of The Yomiuri Shimbun)
A Global Hawk is a 40-meter-wide, 14.5-meter-long unmanned plane manufactured by Northrop Grumman, a U.S. aerospace and defense company. The drone has been deployed by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of the units to be deployed to Misawa Air Base will be operated from the ground in Misawa until it reaches a certain height after takeoff. The drone will then be controlled via satellite by Beale Air Force Base staff in California, according to sources.
(comments Charles McCain: I think the last sentence in the preceding paragraph means, “don’t touch anything. Just watch the video monitors.”
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