South Korea to Procure Additional AEW&C, SIGINT Aircraft

South Korea’s Defense Project Promotion Committee, on June 26, approved plans to procure additional airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) and signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft platforms.

The project to acquire AEW&C aircraft will be launched next year and a budget of 1.59 trillion won ($1.32 billion) is being earmarked for the program, according to the country’s defense procurement agency Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

As per reports, the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) is seeking to procure two more Boeing 737 AEW&C aircraft. The RoKAF currently operates four E-737 AEW&C aircraft which were procured under the Peace Eye program with the final aircraft delivered on 24 October 2012.

ROKAF E-737 Peace Eye AEW&C
Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF)’s Boeing 737 based E-737 Peace Eye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. Boeing Photo.

The project to acquire the SIGINT aircraft will also be launched next year an is expected to be completed by 2026. The DAPA has said that 870 billion won (720 million) have been earmarked for the this project.

The RoKAF currently operates six SIGINT platforms which were acquired under the Paekdu (also Baekdu) programme. This includes two modified Dassault Falcon 2000S jets and four Hawker 800XP-based RC-800 “Peace Krypton” aircraft.

According to the DAPA, RoKAF plans to replace four of the Baekdu spy planes with advanced ones.

U-125 Peace Krypton
U-125 Peace Krypton (Hawker 800XP) tactical reconnaissance, surveillance and SIGINT aircraft of South Korea. Photo via

At the Seoul ADEX 2019 exhibition, Raytheon and Korean Air signed an exclusive collaboration agreement to pursue the ROKAF’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) aircraft program.

Under the agreement, Raytheon will be the prime contractor and provide multiple-intelligence, or Multi-INT, technologies for the aircraft platform, which will be based on Bombardier Global 6500 business jet. Korean Air will deliver design, logistics and life cycle support services. Working with Bombardier, Raytheon and Korean Air will modify the Global 6500 jets to meet ROKAF’s specific mission needs.

Multi-INT synthesizes data from a variety of sensors – including radar, multifunction electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR), and signals intelligence (SIGINT) suites – to create a comprehensive picture of the battlespace.

Raytheon Multi-INT Special Mission Aircraft
Raytheon Multi-INT special mission aircraft based on Bombardier Global 6500 business jet. Raytheon Photo.

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