The South Korean Air Force (SKAF) has created a bigger airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) unit to monitor Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile activities.
The new unit plans to introduce two RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles next year under a 2014 contract with the US, with two more to arrive in 2019, Yonhap News Agency reported Friday quoting SKAF sources.
The move is part of South Korea has stepped up efforts to bolster its ISR capabilities, a key precondition for the push to regain the wartime operational control of its troops from the US. The new Air Force wing will be in charge of operating ISR assets.
The SKAF’s aviation intelligence wing is tasked with monitoring North's military activities around the clock in close coordination with the United States ISR assets operating on the peninsula.
It will also collect and analyze information related to the South Korean military's space operation, according to the Air Force.
"Its main mission is the production of information and surveillance to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile threats," said Col. Kang Yoon-seok, commander of the unit. "(We) will make all-out efforts to detect the indications of the enemy's attack and threat in advance by maintaining 24-hour ISR capabilities."
The new wing has replaces the 37th tactical intelligence squadron, the report said.