• Global Military Communications

Northrop Grumman completes successful first flight of Japan’s RQ-4B Global Hawk

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) successfully completed the first flight of Japan’s RQ-4B Global Hawk on April 15, 2021 from Palmdale, California. 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.

Northrop Grumman Completes Successful First Flight of Japan’s RQ-4B Global Hawk

“The unarmed RQ-4B Global Hawk will provide Japan with on-demand intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information supporting the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s missions of protecting borders, monitoring threats and providing humanitarian assistance in times of need,” said Jane Bishop, vice president and general manager, autonomous systems, Northrop Grumman. “This successful first flight is a significant milestone in delivering Global Hawk to our Japanese allies.”


Global Hawk is the only high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicle (UAV) to deliver near real-time on demand data around the clock. 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.

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