S. Korea forms high-altitude reconnaissance squadron with RQ-4 Global Hawks

By Lim Chang-won Posted : January 31, 2020, 13:01 Updated : January 31, 2020, 13:01

A file picture shows a U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance plane in the air. [Reuters/Yonhap News Photo]

SEOUL -- South Korea has set up a high-altitude reconnaissance squadron with RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles to support ground troop actions by scanning and tracking the movement of enemy missiles and troops movements.

The creation of South Korea's Global Hawk squadron was confirmed on Friday at a meeting of military officials, chaired by Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo, the defense ministry said. The first of Northrop Grumman's four RQ-4Bs South Korea has agreed to purchase was delivered on December 13. Three more RQ-4Bs are to be delivered in the first half of this year.

Global Hawk, a high-altitude remotely-piloted surveillance aircraft, provides a broad overview and systematic surveillance. RQ-4Bs will be run with mid-altitude unmanned air vehicles. Currently, South Korean troops operate seven types of UAVs. South Korea has bolstered intelligence capabilities by purchasing EA-18G Growlers and E-737 early warning aircraft.

Air force officials believe RQ-4s will enhance South Korea's operational capabilities as they will work together with advanced stealth jets. Pyongyang has taken a fussy attitude to Seoul's purchase of high-tech and advanced weaponry. South Korea would purchase 40 F-35As, with 13 already delivered.
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