3. Japan to deploy Global Hawk drones
Japan's defense ministry has chosen the US-made Global Hawk as the country's first large scale reconnaissance drones.
The plan is for 3 of the unmanned aircraft to be deployed to better monitor the military activities of neighboring countries.
North Korea is suspected of proceeding with its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, while China is expanding its military power.
Defense ministry officials are requesting funds to purchase the drones in next fiscal year's draft budget.
The Global Hawk has a wing span of about 40 meters. It has an infrared sensor capable of monitoring the ground from an altitude of 22,000 meters.
It also has a mechanism to avoid colliding with other aircraft.
The defense ministry plans to start using the drones in fiscal 2019. They are considering deploying them in northeastern Japan at the Air Self-Defense Force Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture.
The ministry has also decided to buy 4 US-made E-2D early warning aircraft. The plane's radar can monitor a wider range than the 17 early warning aircraft currently in use.