U.S. deploys Global Hawks for intel missions to Senkakus, N. Korea

Bill Gertz, Washington Free Beacon

The Pentagon will deploy two long-range Global Hawk reconnaissance drones in Japan for operations to monitor Chinese naval activities and a possible fourth North Korean nuclear test, defense officials said.

Global Hawk. / AP

Global Hawk. / AP

The unarmed RQ-4 drones are among the Pentagon’s most high-profile military tools in the U.S. pivot to Asia, and will be used for intelligence-gathering in the region. An Air Force spokeswoman said the two drones are being transferred for summer duty in Anderson Air Force Base in Guam, to Misawa Air Base in Japan and will begin flights this month. About 40 troops are deploying as part of the operations that will continue through October.

“The temporary rotation of the Global Hawk from Guam to Japan will support U.S. intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance priorities, operational plans, and contingency operations throughout the Pacific theater, and will ensure continued regional stability and security beneficial to all nations in the Asia-Pacific,” said Air Force Capt. Heather Boytim, spokeswoman for the Hawaii-based Pacific Air Forces. …

The drone deployment to Japan comes amid increasing tensions between China and Japan over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, and between China and several Southeast Asian nations over maritime disputes in the South China Sea. The drones fly as high as 60,000 feet for up to 30 hours. It has a range of about 2,300 miles.


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