Less Than Two Years From Being Purchased From The US, South Korea's Four RQ-4 Global Hawk Drones For Rp. 11.4 Trillion Are Defective
Ilustrasi drone RQ-4 Global Hawk. (Wikimedia Commons/US Air Force/Bobbi Zapka)

JAKARTA - South Korean authorities found defects or malfunctions in all four Global Hawk unmanned surveillance drones it bought from the United States, a ruling party lawmaker said Thursday, calling for steps to ensure their stable operation.

Citing data from the Air Force during a parliamentary audit, Democratic lawmaker Ahn Gyu-back said defects were found an average of 10 times in each RQ-4 Global Hawk drone.

It is known, from December 2019 to September last year, South Korea brought in four RQ-4 Global Hawks drones under a project worth 965.9 billion won or equivalent to 812 million US dollars, around Rp. 11,449,849,600,000.

"There are too many defects due to the short time since it was launched here," Ahn said, citing the Korea Times Oct. 14.

"We need to thoroughly examine the operational management of the Global Hawks drones and quickly devise measures to ensure their stable operation."

Lawmakers also said the military found a malfunctioning piece that was responsible for sending imagery to the ground on one of the Global Hawks, but had yet to find out what went wrong.

drone r1-4 global hawk
Illustration of the RQ-4 Global Hawk drone. (Wikimedia Commons/Staff Sgt. Christopher Matthews)

Last October, South Korea confirmed defects or damage to two of the four RQ-4 Global Hawk drones.

Citing Yonhap Oct. 21, 2020, an oil leak was found in the landing gear of one plane, with problems related to a core control sensor detected on another plane, an official said on condition of anonymity.

South Korean military authorities immediately consulted with US defense firm Northrop Grumman, a manufacturer of remotely piloted high-altitude surveillance drones, on the matter, according to defense sources.

In 2011, South Korea signed a 965.9 billion won deal for four RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawks. The first one arrived in Ginseng Country in December 2019, with the other deliveries completed in September 2020.

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