Officials of the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, announced a $657.4 million contract to Northrop Grumman on Tuesday to provide four Global Hawk surveillance UAVs to the Republic of Korea.
Northrop Grumman reportedly said the contract is the first sale of the unmanned aircraft to an allied nation in the Asia Pacific region under the Foreign Military Sales process, according to Stars and Stripes.
Hawaii-based Pacific Forum think tank President Ralph Cossa, a former Air Force officer, said South Korea’s acquisition of the drones is part of efforts to give the country’s military commanders operational control of forces on the peninsula during any war with North Korea, Stars and Stripes reported.
In addition to the four Global Hawk UAVs, each with an Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite, the contract includes two spare engines and ground-control elements.
The Global Hawk's Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS) from the Raytheon Co. Space and Airborne Systems segment in El Segundo, Calif., is for day and nighttime surveillance on land or at sea and in all weather conditions.
The EISS on the Global Hawk UAV pinpoints stationary or moving targets, transmits imagery and position information from altitudes as high as 60,000 feet with near real-time speed. The sensor suite enables Global Hawk to scan large geographic areas and produce high-resolution reconnaissance imagery.
The EISS provides Global Hawk with broad sensing, night vision, and radar detection capabilities. It combines a cloud-penetrating synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antenna with a ground moving target indicator (GMTI), a high resolution electro-optical (EO) digital camera, and an infrared (IR) sensor. The EISS also includes a common signal processor.
Northrop Grumman Aerospace designed and built the Global Hawk, a surveillance UAV larger than an F-16 jet fighter. The UAV has a role similar to the U-2 high-altitude surveillance aircraft.
The RQ-4 UAV provides broad-area surveillance using high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and long-range infrared sensors. The aircraft can remain aloft for days and can survey as much as 40,000 square miles a day.
On this contract Northrop Grumman will do the work in San Diego, and should be finished by June 2019. For more information contact Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems online at www.northropgrumman.com, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems at www.raytheon.com, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.wpafb.af.mil/aflcmc.