Japan received RQ-4B surveillance drone with EISS from Raytheon

WASHINGTON – The first Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk was delivered to Japan on Saturday, BulgarianMilitary.com learned, citing FlugRevue. The unmanned military drone for surveillance and reconnaissance arrived at Misawa Air Base after a flight from California, USA.

Photo credit: Brozo

Japan has purchased three RQ-4B Global Hawks “to gather intelligence in relatively remote areas of Japan and to provide continuous aerial surveillance in high-tension situations.” The Global Hawks must “to make a significant contribution to the operational reinforcement of the self-defense forces and to Japanese-American interoperability”, the Japanese Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Japan’s first RQ-4B made its maiden flight on April 15, 2021 from Palmdale, California. The Japanese command’s second drone was also built and made its first flight in June of the same year.

The idea for Japan to acquire the RQ-4B Global Hawk arose in 2013 after North Korea conducted its third nuclear test. A government-level contract was signed in October 2017, and Northrop Grumman was awarded the contract the following year. The US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is responsible for procurement on behalf of the US government. The acquisition cost of the three unmanned military reconnaissance aircraft is $1.2 billion.

RQ-4B World Falcon

Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high altitude remotely piloted surveillance aircraft. It is in service with the United States, South Korea and Japan, and five units have been sold to NATO for special intelligence operations. In the United States, in addition to the US Air Force, the RQ-4 Global Hawk is also used by NASA.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is 14.5 meters long, over 4 meters high and, at full wingspan, is 39.9 meters wide. It is powered by a Rolls-Royce F137-RR-100 turbofan engine, which provides it with a 7,600 lbf [34 kN] dive.

Its autonomy is 22,780 km and can stay in the air for more than 32 hours. It can reach a top speed of 628 km/h, while its cruising speed is 570 km/h.

Raytheon EISS

The RQ-4 Global Hawk features Raytheon Technologies Intelligence & Space’s enhanced integrated sensor suite [EISS]. This package enables the RQ-4 Global Hawk to scan and map large geographic areas with high image resolution.

Japan Received RQ-4B Surveillance Drone With EISS From Raytheon
Photo credit: DocPlayer.net

To provide Global Hawk with its broad sensing, night vision, and radar detection capabilities, EISS combines cloud-penetrating synthetic aperture radar [SAR] antenna with a mobile target indicator on the ground [GMTI]high resolution electro-optics [EO] digital camera and infrared [IR] sensor. A common signal processor, acting as an airborne supercomputer, ensures that all elements work together.

Complementing Raytheon Intelligence & Space’s powerful sensors, multi-INT upgrades are available to complement the aircraft’s already superior electronics. These include communications, signals and electronic intelligence capabilities [COMINT, SIGINT, ELINT] which increase the mission adaptability of the aircraft.

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