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South Korea Seeks To Acquire Sensitive Spy Planes

The Global Hawk UAV.
by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Jul 19, 2007
South Korea said Wednesday it is still seeking to buy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from the United States despite Washington's previous refusal to sell it the high-altitude spy plane. The defence ministry plans to acquire four Global Hawk UAVs by 2012, a spokesman told AFP. The 45-million-dollar craft can cruise at an altitude of 19,500 metres (more than 64,000 feet) for up to 42 hours and identify 30-centimetre (12-inch) objects on the ground.

South Korea is seeking the planes partly so it can keep a better watch over North Korea, as it takes over greater responsibility for its defence from its ally the United States.

But its request for the Global Hawks was rejected in 2005. The US says that the Missile Technology Control Regime, which covers the unmanned plane, should be revised first.

The acquisition of UAVs is part of South Korea's 2008-2012 national defence plan, which is estimated to cost a total of 164 trillion won (179 billion dollars).

The ministry's budget request for next year is 26.93 trillion won (29.27 billion dollars), up 9.7 percent from this year.

The mid-term defence programme is focused on enhancing intelligence-gathering capability. Seoul regains wartime operational control over its own troops from the United States in April 2012.

It is also aimed at acquiring new weapons, enhancing maintenance of fighter jets and improving benefits for soldiers.

South Korea plans to scale down its 680,000-strong military to 500,000 by 2020 with the introduction of more cutting-edge weaponry.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Air Force Chief Of Staff Initiates MQ-1 Predator Plus-up
Washington (AFPN) Jul 18, 2007
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley is accelerating delivery of the Defense Department's December 2009 goal of 21 daily MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle combat air patrols, or CAPs, by one year. At the chief of staff's request, Air Force officials coordinated deployment actions with the Joint Staff and Central Command to increase three additional Predator CAPs, boosting full motion video and rapid strike capability to the Joint Force commander in Iraq. Two of these CAPs are expected to be active this summer or early fall.

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