US PACOM Global Hawks move to Yokota
Five US Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk UAS have been temporarily deployed to Yokota Air Base in Japan, from where they will support US intelligence operations until October 2017, the US Pacific Command announced on 10 May.
The fleet is based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. In the summer months when Guam's inclement weather during the island's typhoon season make operations difficult, the fleet is operated from Misawa Air Base, Japan. As Misawa's runway is currently undergoing construction, the fleet has temporarily moved to Yokota.
The five Global Hawks and approximately 105 support and operations personnel with the 69th Reconnaissance Group Detachment 1 support US intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance requirements, operational plans and contingency operations throughout the Pacific theatre. Global Hawk provides persistent, day and night, high-resolution, all-weather imagery of large geographic areas with its integrated sensor and camera payload.
The fleet has also supported disaster relief and rescue operations in the region, including supporting Operation Tomadachi relief efforts following the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami; and providing reconnaissance of the status of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.
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