05/24/2014: Japan is a key ally for the U.S. in dealing with Pacific defense.
In the meetings with Secretary of Defense Hagel in the Fall of 2013, the Japanese highlighted that new F-35s, P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and Global Hawk long-range reconnaissance UAVs were to be deployed to Japan.
Indeed, by 2020 it is planned to have 5 squadrons of F-35s deployed to Japan, two with the USMC, two with the USAF and one by the Japanese Air Force.
Now the first-of those RQ-4 Global Hawk has arrived at Misawa Air Base on May 24, 2014.
The Global Hawk was part of the US response to aid the Japanese in the 2011 Tsunami.
The U.S. also deployed Global Hawk unmanned aerial drones, which flew over the plant to monitor the reactors and collect data for the Japanese government.
Credit:35 Fighter Wing Public Affairs:5/24/14
According to a Japan Times story published on May 24, 2014:
A U.S. Global Hawk surveillance drone arrived Saturday morning at Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture, marking the first time the drone has been deployed in Japan.
The Global Hawk is 14.5 meters long and has a wingspan of about 40 meters. Capable of conducting extended surveillance at altitudes above 15,000 meters.
It is one of a pair of Guam-based Global Hawks to be deployed at the Misawa base from May to October.
The second is expected to arrive Wednesday.
The two reconnaissance aircraft will likely start operating in the Asia-Pacific region in early June.
For a look at how the Japanese perspective on defense is in transition, including an official Japanese MOD video see the following: