Thursday, October 13, 2005

 

US won't sell Global Hawk

A wise decision to avoid the leaks.

U.S. Won’t Sell Global Hawk Spy Drones to Korea

The United States has turned down a bid from South Korea to buy cutting-edge high-altitude“Global Hawk” unmanned aerial vehicles from the country.
The unmanned spy plane is considered a key strategic weapon and is under strict export restrictions, meaning that congressional approval is needed before the UAV can be sold to abroad. In June, the U.S. approved the sale to Japan.

During a parliamentary audit of the Agency for Defense Development on Thursday, Grand National Party lawmaker Hwang Jin-ha said Washington told Seoul during a joint Security Cooperation Committee meeting on June 21 the sale was “inappropriate at this time."

Ahn Dong-man, the president of the ADD, confirmed the news. "I am aware that the U.S. has refused to sell us Global Hawks," he said.

The Defense Ministry made the request during annual defense ministerial meetings between South Korea and the U.S., the Security Consultative Meeting (SCM), in Hawaii in December. Under its five-year arms procurement plan, the ministry reportedly explained the need for the increased independent reconnaissance capability the UAVs can provide and asked those present for support in ensuring the sale went through.

But Washington is said to be unconvinced that Korea needs the Global Hawks and unwilling to sell the technology to the country. It also worries about the risk of key strategic technology being leaked.

The spy drone can fly unmanned at an altitude of up to 20 km for 38-42 hours, providing detailed images which can relay surface objects as small as 0.3 m, with Synthetic Aperture Radar and infrared monitoring systems. Its reconnaissance capabilities are said to be as good as those of spy satellites. The price tag is around US$45 million.

(englishnews@chosun.com )

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