S.Korea plans to buy four Global Hawk aircraft from 2017


SEOUL, Nov 4 (Reuters) - South Korea intends to buy fourGlobal Hawk unmanned aircraft, made by Northrop Grumman Corp, for about 900 billion won ($848 million), an officialat the country's defense acquisition agency confirmed on Monday.

Lee Young-geol, the administrator of South Korea's DefenseAcquisition Program Administration (DAPA), said in aparliamentary audit late on Friday that South Korea "has plansto sign a contract next year to adopt Global Hawks in 2017".

The purchase would be conducted through the U.S. ForeignMilitary Sale (FMS) programme, and was likely to be signed inthe first half of 2014, said the official who was not authorisedto to speak about the deal before its terms were fixed.

The budget for the purchase had yet to be earmarked and theexact terms of purchase had yet to be decided, the officialadded.

The U.S. congress approved the export of the Global Hawksystem to South Korea earlier this year.

Local newspapers have previously reported that South Korea'smilitary had received approval from the country's financeministry to increase the budget for the purchase from anoriginal 480 billion won.

A spokesman for DAPA declined to elaborate beyond theadministrator's comments.

Northrop declined to confirm or deny South Korea's stance,but added it continues to "work closely with the U.S. Departmentof Defense and Korean government to ensure their growingintelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements aremet with Global Hawk."

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