Friday, March 11, 2011

South Korea have reached a handshake agreement for the sale of the Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft

By Robert Wall, Amy Butler(AW&ST)

The U.S. and South Korea have reached a handshake agreement for the sale of the Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft, according to program sources.
The sale, which could take place as soon as this year, will include four of the high-flying UAVs. Though the Global Hawk is designed to carry a variety of payloads, including imagery sensors, radars and signals intelligence collectors, South Korea has been approved for the Block 30I version, which includes an electro-optical/infrared system.
Seoul eventually would like a signals intelligence capability; but the U.S. is reluctant to sell its Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload, so a payload has not yet been selected for that requirement, a program source says.
First delivery is expected by 2014. Notification of the sale to Congress is expected soon.
Several countries in Asia have been interested in buying the Global Hawk, including Japan, South Korea and Singapore. A version of the Global Hawk is being developed for the German Luftwaffe’s signals intelligence collection demands, and NATO has selected the Block 40 platform to carry its next-generation Air-Ground Surveillance sensor. However, the range and payload capacity of the aircraft — nearly 3,000 lb. — subject it to the restrictions of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
The State Department decided to waive the MTCR restrictions for the Global Hawk sale to South Korea after meetings between Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and their counterparts from Seoul last year, program sources say. South Korea became an MTCR signatory in 2005.
The U.S. Air Force is now crafting the details of the agreement; price has not been set.
The U.S. Air Force is buying the Global Hawk for imagery collection, signals intelligence and ground surveillance. The Navy is now developing a version for maritime surveillance, and Australia has expressed interest in this version despite its high price.
Two Global Hawks are now employing the Battlefield Airborne Communication Node relay payload out of Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, along with Block 10 aircraft being used for surveillance of the seas and land.
Photo: Northrop Grumman

No comments:

Post a Comment

no offensive and abusive language please