South Korea will receive a cutting-edge system used to analyze imagery taken by its Global Hawk drones next month from the United States, as well as 16 more F-35A fighter jets by next year, Seoul’s arms procurement agency said Tuesday.
The system will greatly enhance South Korea’s capacity to analyze visual intelligence gathered on North Korea through its fleet of four RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk drones, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
In a report it submitted for a parliamentary audit on Tuesday, DAPA said the devices would be brought in by December following delays incurred by Covid-19 and prolonged negotiations with U.S. manufacturers and the government.
Seoul last month received its fourth RQ-4 spy drone from the United States, the last of a 2011 purchase from Washington.
As one of the most expensive and sophisticated unmanned aerial surveillance systems in use, the Global Hawk is equipped with high-resolution imaging devices and radars that enable it to detect objects as small as 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) from an altitude of 20 kilometers (12.4 miles).
From such an altitude, the drone can operate between 38 to 42 hours and survey a distance of up to 3,000 kilometers, putting most of Northeast Asia within range of its surveillance capabilities even when it is in South Korean airspace. (end of excerpt)
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