South Korea received its first RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft as it landed at an air force base at the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula earlier this week.
This was first reported by Korean news agency Yonhap. The agency said defense officials revealed the arrival of the aircraft adding that the country’s arms procurement agency DAPA decided not to issue a press release on the occasion due to tensions with North Korea.
This is the first of four units slated to arrive in the country under a contract from 2012. The other three are scheduled for delivery next year.
The Global Hawks are being delivered by Northrop Grumman under a deal worth an estimated $1.2 billion that includes the enhanced integrated sensor suite (EISS) with infrared/electro-optical, synthetic aperture radar imagery and ground moving target indicator, mission control element, launch and recovery element, signals intelligence package, an imagery intelligence exploitation system, and communications equipment.
A date for the official operational deployment of the aircraft is yet to be revealed.
The RQ-4 has a wingspan of 130 feet and provides near-real-time actionable intelligence for more than 30 hours at a time, at altitudes of 60,000 feet or 11 miles high.
The aircraft has been is US Air Force service since 2001 and has amassed more than 250,000 flight hours with missions flown in support of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Africa, and the greater Asia-Pacific region.