Seoul Searching

South Korea’s plans to acquire US-built RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles have hit a snag as the country’s parliament has axed nearly the entire initial budget earmarked for the high-flying surveillance airplanes. The Korea Times reports that the National Assembly in December cut almost all the funding proposed to go toward the initial contract to buy four Global Hawks by 2011. The newspaper cites South Korean defense ministry officials attributing the cut to the standing ban on sales of the Global Hawk due to US adherence to the Missile Technology Control Regime. USAF plans to have the first of its Global Hawks destined for Pacific basing available on Guam around 2009. Pacific Air Forces wants to establish a multinational consortium of partners and friends in the region that cooperate in Global Hawk operations and the dissemination of the high-flying surveillance aircraft’s imagery and data.