A Northrop Grumman Corp. Global Hawk, based in Guam, is flying over Japan collecting data and imagery for Japanese government relief efforts, according to a U.S. military spokesman.
The unmanned system, best known for missions over Iraq and Afghanistan, “is being used exclusively in relief efforts at the request of the Japanese government,” said the U.S. Forces- Japan spokesman, Air Force Major Joseph Macri, in an e-mail statement. It was also used over Haiti last year for broad-area surveillance.
The 9.0-magnitude temblor and subsequent tsunami on March 11 has led to what Prime Minister Naoto Kan called the country’s worst crisis since War II.
The long-range UAV, which arrived in Guam in September, “is flying aerial surveillance missions in support of earthquake and tsunami relief operations in Japan,” Macri said. It’s part of a U.S. military support effort that may include 13 Navy vessels and hundreds of U.S. personnel.
The Global Hawk’s imagery may help Japan assess damage as well as logistical information such as functional ports or landing sites that could be used for relief, he said.
“It’s flying almost continuously” and “will continue at the request of the Japanese government,” Macri said....Read More