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RQ-4 Global Hawk

The US Air Force deployed two Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Misawa AB, Aomori Prefecture, from May to October 2014. Moved to escape the typhoon season at their normal base on Guam, the aircraft were shown off to local dignitaries and the Japanese media on May 30, and one was placed on static display at the base air show in September.

On November 20, 2014, the Japan Ministry of Defense announced that the Global Hawk had been selected over the General Atomics Guardian ER. The budget request had given no indication of the amount of funding and merely stated that the type of UAV was being selected. The MTDP includes provision for three UAVs for “joint units,” in other words to be jointly operated with the U.S. Air Force.

Although there were reports that the first could be in service as early as this year (2015), fiscal 2015 funding only covered expenditure for components of a system that will take some time to implement. Although the forecast was that the three aircraft would be acquired during the course of fiscal 2019 and be operational in fiscal 2020 at the earliest, three aircraft awaited approval as part of the fiscal 2016 budget request.

The State Department made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Japan for RQ-4 Block 30 (I) Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $1.2 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on November 19, 2015.

The Government of Japan has requested a possible sale of Major Defense Equipment (MDE): 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).

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 estimated value of MDE is $.689 billion. The total estimated value is $1.2 billion.

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. This transaction is consistent with U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives and the 1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.

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. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor will be Northrop Grumman Corporation in Rancho Bernardo, California. The purchaser requested offsets but at this time agreements are undetermined and will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractor.

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of contractor representatives to Japan to perform contractor logistics support and to support establishment of required security infrastructure. There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.

This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

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Page last modified: 20-11-2015 20:02:43 ZULU