The surveillance aircraft is being deployed in the wake of North Korea’s fourth nuclear test
By Elizabeth Shim
The U.S. drone Gray Eagle is to be deployed on the Korean peninsula in the wake of North Korea‘s fourth nuclear test, according to South Korea press.
The unmanned aerial vehicle with a 56-foot wingspan can be fitted with air-to-surface missiles and is capable of striking targets during flight. A similar drone, the Predator, was deployed in Pakistan to hit al-Qaida targets.
South Korean television network MBC reported the drone can be controlled via satellite and if deployed on the peninsula can also be remotely controlled from the U.S. mainland.
The drones can be fitted with Hellfire anti-tank missiles and the Viper Strike, small precision-guided bombs, South Korea press reported. It can also fly at an altitude of 25,000 feet for 30 hours at a maximum speed of 170 mph.
If detected on North Korea radar, the aircraft can disappear by flying at lower elevation.
The Gray Eagle was tested last August at Kunsan, a U.S. Air Force base, where it exchanged visual information with Apache helicopters.
U.S. Forces Korea plans to deploy the Gray Eagle with the 2nd Infantry Division in north Gyeonggi province, near the Korean demilitarized zone. The South Korea-U.S. Combined Division stated Wednesday U.S. forces are operating the Raven RQ-11B and the Shadow RQ-7B at the brigade level, according to Yonhap. Any information collected by drones would be shared in real time between the two forces, the division stated. Read more