The US Air Force has awarded Northrop Grumman a $130 million contract for long-lead work related to Tokyo's acquisition of three RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30(I) unmanned air vehicles.

Detailed on 5 October, the funding will support the start of aircraft production, plus work on enhanced sensor suite equipment, spare parts and site survey activities, the US Department of Defense says, and will run through July 2018.

In November 2015, the US government approved a $1.2 billion sale of three Block 30 Global Hawks to Japan.

Separately, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency says Congress has approved a possible $113 million transaction covering the sale of 56 Raytheon AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) to Japan.

This package also includes logistical elements related to the weapons, plus training and other equipment and services, it says.