A contingent of RQ-4 Global Hawks are now flying out of Yokota Air Base, Japan, after making their regular trip from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to avoid bad weather.
The RQ-4s often move to Japan to stay safe from Andersen’s typhoon season, which typically runs from June to December. A Pacific Air Forces release said the unmanned surveillance aircraft, owned by the 319th Reconnaissance Wing, started heading to Yokota on May 30.
Having alternate locations to perform the Global Hawk mission allows the Air Force to continue collecting reconnaissance images while supporting Japan and keeping peace in the Indo-Pacific, said Lt. Col. Ben Craycraft, commander of 319th Operations Group’s Detachment 1.
Yokota’s location in the Kanto Plain region offers the RQ-4s a better place to fly without impacting the base’s regularly steady operations, Craycraft said. The aircraft stayed at Yokota in 2019 and 2017, and have also sought fairer skies at Misawa Air Base in Japan over the past six years.
The Global Hawks fly high-altitude, long-endurance intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions in the region, and support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.