LOS ANGELES (Kyodo) A U.S.-built unmanned surveillance aircraft under consideration for purchase by the Defense Ministry was shown Tuesday to the Japanese media for the first time.

The Block 20 Global Hawk spy drone, displayed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, would be used to guard against potential military threats from China and North Korea in coordination with U.S. military operations in East Asia, defense analysts say.

The unarmed drone, which can stay in the air 24 to 32 hours, uses advanced cameras and radar to monitor the surface from an altitude of some 18,000 meters, according to Northrop Grumman. It can also intercept communications and other electronic signals, the defense contractor said.

Each aircraft with a standard sensor function costs about $50 million to $70 million (¥4.16 billion to ¥5.82 billion), and the ground system that controls the plane about $30 million (¥2.49 billion).

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