Seoul, Nov 3 (efe-epa).- South Korea on Tuesday launched its first reconnaissance wing of the air fore that will operate drones and espionage assets to monitor North Korean military threats.
The 39th reconnaissance wing at an airbase in the central Chungju city, around 100 km south of Seoul, will house critical assets like the advanced pilotless Global Hawk aircraft, RF-16, and RC-800 Geumgang recce aircraft.
There will also be a medium-altitude unmanned aircraft system, Yonhap agency said, citing an air force statement.
“We have decided to create a new wing as a key strategic unit to operate newly introduced assets and to boost our reconnaissance capabilities to better prepare for future warfare,” the statement said.
The assets of the reconnaissance wing will help gather military intelligence, including possible North Korean missile launches, regardless of weather conditions.
“The establishment of the wing is expected to help boost our key defense capabilities for the transition of the wartime operational control,” Air Force Chief of Staff, General Lee Seong-yong, said during the foundation ceremony.
The chief said it was also a “major achievement of our push for defense reform.”
The reconnaissance assets were operated previously by the 39th recce aircraft group assigned to the 19th Fighter Wing of the air force.
Currently, the wartime operational control, in case of an open conflict with North Korea, lies with the US military, which maintains a contingent of some 28,500 soldiers in the south of the peninsula.
However, the two countries have been holding talks on transferring wartime Operational Control Authority (OPCON) to South Korea from the United States Forces Korea (USFK) without any conclusion so far. EFE-EPA