Japan received an RQ-4B surveillance UAV with Raytheon’s EISS

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

Japan received an RQ-4B surveillance UAV with Raytheon's EISS
Photo credit: Brozo

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

The first Japanese RQ-4B made its first flight on April 15, 2021, from Palmdale, California. The second drone from the Japanese order was also built and made its first flight in June of that year.

The idea for Japan to acquire the RQ-4B Global Hawk was born 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 Lifecycle Management Center is responsible for purchases on behalf of the US government. The cost of acquiring the three unmanned military reconnaissance aircraft is $ 1.2 billion.

RQ-4B Global Hawk

Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, remotely-piloted surveillance aircraft. It is in service in 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, RQ-4 Global Hawk is also used by NASA.

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

Its operating range is 22,780 km and can be in the air for over 32 hours. It can reach a top speed of 628 km / h, while its cruise speed is 570 km / h.

Raytheon’s EISS

The RQ-4 Global Hawk features Raytheon Technologies’ Intelligence & Space’s Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite [EISS]. This package allows the RQ-4 Global Hawk to scan and map large geographical areas with high image resolution.

Japan received an RQ-4B surveillance UAV with Raytheon's EISS
Photo credit: DocPlayer.net

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

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


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