Last week, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the U.S. Department of State approved the possible sale of three RQ-4 Block 30 (I) Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and associated equipment to Japan.
U.S. Congress has to approve the sale within the next 15 days in order for the United States and Japan to begin negotiating the actual $1.2 billion arms deal. In detail, according to the DSCA, the Japanese government has requested the sale of:
- Three (3) RQ-4 Block 30 (I) Global Hawk Remotely Piloted Aircraft with Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS)
- Eight (8) Kearfott Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System (INS/GPS) units (2 per aircraft with 2 spares)
- Eight (8) LN-251 INS/GPS units (2 per aircraft with 2 spares)
The primary U.S. defense contractor on the deal would be Northrop Grumman Corporation in Rancho Bernardo, California.
“The proposed sale of the RQ-4 will significantly enhance Japan’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and help ensure that Japan is able to continue to monitor and deter regional threats. The Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) will have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces,” DSCA emphasized.
“Also included with this request are operational-level sensor and aircraft test equipment, ground support equipment, operational flight test support, communications equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support,” the DSCA press statement reads.
The DSCA is the lead agency within the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for arms sales, training and services to allies, and maintaining military-to-military contacts with allied nations.
According to the U.S. Air Force website:
The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft with an integrated sensor suite that provides global all-weather, day or night intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability. Global Hawk’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of ISR collection capability to support joint combatant forces in worldwide peacetime, contingency and wartime operations. The Global Hawk provides persistent near-real-time coverage using imagery intelligence (IMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT) and moving target indicator (MTI) sensors.
Japan’s new drones could be used to surveil Chinese activities in the East and South China Seas.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States. Japan is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and a key partner of the United States in ensuring regional peace and stability,” the DSCA press release said.