The South Korean Air Force has set up a reconnaissance squadron charged with operating the high altitude-long range surveillance drone, Global Hawk.
The new military unit was established in December as South Korea brought in its first RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) that month, the defence ministry announced.
As part of efforts to improve its capabilities regarding drones, the defense ministry held a meeting Friday, involving some 60 officials from related entities, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all branches of service.
South Korea has purchased four units, with the remaining three to arrive here in the first half of this year, according to officials, Korea Herald reported.
The Northrop Grumman manufactured drone is capable of performing reconnaissance missions for around 40 hours at a time at an altitude of roughly 20 kilometers. Its ground surveillance radar sensor enables it to distinguish objects on the ground as small as 30 centimeters across.
The unmanned aircraft is expected to enhance Seoul's reconnaissance capabilities against North Korea and security challenges from neighboring countries (read China).
Some 9000 South Korean employees at US bases in the country may be forced to go on unpaid leave if no cost-sharing deal is reached between Washington and Seoul. On Monday, the US Defense Secretary Mark Esper will meet South Korean minister of defense Jeong Kyeong-doo to discuss a range of bilateral issues including the regional security environment, policy toward North Korea, the planned transition of wartime operational control (OPCON), and the Special Measures Agreement (SMA) cost-sharing deal
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