It was the first of Northrop Grumman's four RQ-4Bs South Korea has agreed to purchase under a 2014 contract. Three RQ-4Bs are to be delivered by the first half of 2020.
Global Hawk's pre-dawn arrival on Monday at an airbase in Sacheon came in a low-key ceremony which is apparently conscious of a backlash from Pyongyang which has taken a fussy attitude to Seoul's purchase of high-tech and advanced weaponry. South Korea would purchase 40 F-35As through 2021, with 13 already delivered this year. Military officials have hailed the deployment of stealth jets as a milestone in South Korea's air defense.
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.
South Korea has bolstered intelligence capabilities by purchasing EA-18G Growlers and E-737 early warning aircraft. Four E-737s are already in service. In December 2018, South Korea's sole aircraft maker, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), won a military deal to develop spy satellites installed with a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) that generates high-resolution remote sensing imagery.
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