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U.S. plans to deploy MQ-1C Gray Eagle RPAs in South Korea by 2016-end

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World Defense & Security News - South Korea
 
 
U.S. plans to deploy MQ-1C Gray Eagle RPAs in South Korea by 2016-end
 
The U.S. is expected to deploy a cutting-edge attack drone in South Korea this year as part of the allies’ efforts to bolster their reconnaissance and combat capabilities and better counter North Korean threats, Seoul officials said Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016.
     
US plans to deploy MQ 1C Gray Eagle RPAsin South Korea by 2016 end 640 001A US Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle remotely piloted aircraft
     
A source on Tuesday said Washington is pushing for the deployment of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle with the U.S. Forces Korea this year and already conducted tests of the drone at its Gunsan airbase here last year.

There has been a move to dispatch the drone to be operated by the U.S. Forces Korea including last year’s test flight,” a military official said, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Currently the USFK has only the Shadow 200 unmanned aerial vehicle, whose capabilities are far inferior to the Gray Eagle.

The Gray Eagle is an improved version of the Predator UAV that was widely used in Iraq and Afghanistan to try and kill al-Qaeda leaders. It has more powerful attack, flight, and reconnaissance capabilities than its predecessor.

Equipped with all-weather night surveillance equipment including an infrared camera, the Gray Eagle is capable of flying for about 30 hours non-stop and would play a leading role in watching the North Korean military if threats mount along the demilitarized zone or near the Northern Limit Line, the de facto sea border. It can fly fpr as long as 25 hours at an altitude of up to 8,000 meters, and carry a payload of more than 454 kilograms, the San Diego-based firm noted, calling it a “key force multiplier.”

The drone can carry four GBU-44/B Viper Strike precision-guided munitions, as well as four Hellfire anti-tank missiles that can allegedly hit a tank about 8 km away. The Viper Strike is said to be accurate within just a meter because it is GPS- and laser-guided. It weighs only 20 kg.

It can also attack helicopters with Stinger air-to-air missiles.