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Report: South Korea to purchase U.S. surveillance aircraft

By
Elizabeth Shim
South Korea is likely to purchase the E-8 Joint Stars, an aircraft that operates an AN/APY-7 radar, which can simultaneously track 600 targets at more than 150 miles. File Photo by Hitoshi Maeshiro/EPA
South Korea is likely to purchase the E-8 Joint Stars, an aircraft that operates an AN/APY-7 radar, which can simultaneously track 600 targets at more than 150 miles. File Photo by Hitoshi Maeshiro/EPA

Nov. 7 (UPI) -- South Korea is expected to purchase state-of-the-art U.S. weapons systems following a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

South Korean newspaper Seoul Shinmun reported Wednesday, local time, Seoul is likely to purchase the E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or Joint STARS, a U.S. ground surveillance, battle management, and command and control aircraft.

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Other equipment South Korea could possibly purchase include F-35A stealth fighters, the RIM-161 Standard Missile 3, or SM-3, a ship-based missile system, the P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft, the unmanned aircraft MQ-1C Gray Eagle and the RQ-7 Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System.

Joint Stars operates an AN/APY-7 radar, which can simultaneously track 600 targets at more than 150 miles. The radar can identify hidden North Korean weapons, including North Korean road-mobile launchers, the report said.

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South Korea could acquire four of the Joint Stars aircraft at $323 million each. But because production has been discontinued, if South Korea does acquire the surveillance aircraft, it would entail technology transfer or joint development.

Following the bilateral summit on Tuesday, Trump said South Korea is to order billions of dollars in U.S. weapons systems, and that some purchases have already been approved.

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North Korea has refused to heed calls for denuclearization, and in recent years has developed new weapons including submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

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U.S. analysts also are concerned North Korea is secretly developing biological weapons.

Andrew C. Weber, former assistant secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs, and currently at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School said, "Biological weapons are more complicated [than nuclear weapons]; they do not lend themselves to easy-to-understand pictures."

Experts say North Korea has built facilities to produce biological weapons, according to Newsweek.

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