Global Hawks for South Korea

The Pentagon notified Congress of the possible $1.2 billion foreign military sale of four RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 remotely piloted aircraft and associated equipment and logistical support to South Korea. The East Asian ally “needs this intelligence and surveillance capability to assume primary responsibility for intelligence gathering from the US-led Combined Forces Command in 2015,” states the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s release, dated Dec. 24. The agency notes that the proposed sale would “maintain adequate intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities and will ensure the alliance is able to monitor and deter regional threats in 2015 and beyond.” Northrop Grumman is the principal RQ-4 contractor. The South Korean Global Hawks would carry a Raytheon-supplied electro-optical/infrared camera suite, a radar for synthetic aperture radar imaging and ground moving target indication, and a signals intelligence package, according to the release. The US Air Force already operates Global Hawk Block 30 air vehicles, but wanted to divest these airframes in this fiscal year. However, Congress added language to the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization act preventing this.