On the heels of the successful first flight of Japan’s RQ-4B Global Hawk on April 15, 2021 from Palmdale, California, Northrop Grumman Corporation recently completed additional successful flights for the second unmanned air vehicle (UAV) for Japan. Global Hawk is the only high-altitude, long-endurance UAV to deliver near real-time on demand data around the clock. With an unmatched combination of range, endurance, and payload capability, Global Hawk is the only platform that provides greater data collection flexibility than space or medium-altitude assets.
The Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, remotely-piloted, surveillance aircraft. It was initially designed by Ryan Aeronautical (now part of Northrop Grumman), and known as Tier II+ during development. The Global Hawk performs duties similar to that of the Lockheed U-2. It is used as a High-Altitude Long Endurance platform covering the spectrum of intelligence collection capability to support forces in worldwide military operations. It can survey as much as 40,000 square miles (100,000 km2) of terrain a day, an area the size of South Korea or Iceland.
Global Hawk is the only high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicle (UAV) to deliver near real-time on demand data around the clock. The RQ-4 Global Hawk has a wingspan of over 130 feet and has a maximum takeoff weight of 16 tons. Once fielded, Global Hawk will integrate with other Japanese intelligence assets, including ground-based command and control units. The capability will provide solutions to monitor and deter regional threats to ensure Japan has a highly effective national security posture well into the future.
Northrop Grumman’s family of autonomous HALE systems, including Global Hawk, are a critical component of networked, global ISR collection for allied nations and mutual defense organizations around the world. Global Hawk collects ISR data that enables decision makers to act with the right information at the right time. When Japan’s Global Hawk fleet is fully operational, it will be part of a growing list of allied nations operating high-altitude long-endurance UAV. The United States, Australia, NATO and Korea will all be operating versions of this vital national surveillance asset.