After South Korea, Now Japan Wants The Global Hawk

Jan 1, 2013- The new Japanese Government is looking for the possibilities of acquiring the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk HALE UAV from the US to boost its intelligence capabilities hence enables the country to better cope with the increased pressure by China over the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

RQ-4 Global Hawk

The Global Hawk will also boost the Japanese Self Defence Force’s ability to gather information on North Korea which has successfully launched a multi stage rocket, reportedly a satellite launch vehicle called the Unha 3 last month.

In addition to security purposes, the aircraft could be used to collect information on radiation contamination thanks to a successful mission conducted by a USAF Global Hawk after the 2011 disaster at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, in which the Global Hawk flew over the crippled nuclear complex to take photos and collect other data as part of the United States’ Operation Tomodachi.

The government and senior LDP leaders are looking to obtain from one to three Global Hawks by fiscal 2015, before the current midterm defense program ends.

Nevertheless, it is not just the Global Hawk that Japan is interested of. As part of efforts to beef up defenses on the Nansei Islands, which include the Senkakus, the government has been considering equipping the Self Defence Force with the MV-22 Osprey, tiltrotor plane. Arrangements are being made to allocate funds to study the matter in the state budget for fiscal 2013.

A USMC Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor at Okinawa, Japan. Note the JMSDF MCH-101 at the background

Japan’s previous government has already bought 42 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II JSF which could saw Mitsubishi Heavy Industry (MHI) to locally assembled some of these state of the art stealth fighters in 2017.

F-35 Lightning II

The Australian News


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