SEOUL --- South Korea's Air Force announced Friday that it will found a key airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) unit in December in line with its plan to acquire Global Hawk drones.
Two RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be delivered to the Air Force next year under a 2014 contract with the United States, with two more to arrive in 2019.
The assets are expected to improve South Korea's capability to monitor North Korea's nuclear and missile activities, adding to its Peace Eye airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) system aircraft.
The new airborne ISR unit will be launched Dec. 1 this year, the Air Force told lawmakers during an annual audit session held at the Gyeryongdae military compound in South Chungcheong Province. The base is home to the headquarters of the Air Force, the Army and the Navy.
The Air Force already has an ISR battalion, but it has decided to create a higher-level one to operate Global Hawk drones and analyze the data collected by them.
The Global Hawk, which features high-altitude and long-endurance flight, is known for persistent near-real-time coverage using imagery intelligence (IMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT) and moving target indicator (MTI) sensors.