South Korea adds US-built UAV to extend surveillance capabilities against North Korea

Yonhap News Agency has reported South Korea has boosted the country´s surveillance capabilities against North Korea with the addition of Global Hawk, an advanced high-altitude unmanned aircraft, the company said.

The RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) was delivered to an Air Force base in Sacheon on the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula, and is the first of a total of four units that South Korea is purchasing from the United States under a 2011 deal.

Three additional RPAs are expected to arrive in the first six months of 2020.

The long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, manufactured by US defense company Northrop Grumman, is capable of performing reconnaissance missions for around 40 hours at a time at an altitude of roughly 20 kilometers. Global Hawk can perform tasks to a range of up to 3,000 km and distinguish objects on the ground as small as 30 centimeters across, which is expected to enhance Seoul´s reconnaissance capabilities in the face of persistent threats by North Korea, as well as growing security challenges from neighboring countries, according to the officials.