US Deploys Drones in South Korea Capable of Striking North Korean Targets
The US military will permanently deploy armed Gray Eagle drones at Kunsan air base outside Seoul, South Korea, which could hit North Korean military targets and destroy its command-and-control infrastructure.
The deployment of drones, which will be assigned to the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, is part of a broader plan to reinforce each Army division with one Gray Eagle company, US Forces Korea (USFK) said in a statement:
"The US Army, after coordination with the Republic of Korea Armed Forces and the US Air Force, has begun the process to permanently station a Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) company at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea."
“The [unmanned aerial system] adds significant intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to US Forces Korea and our [South Korean] partners,” spokesman Christopher Bush said in a statement.
He did not specify when the drones will arrive in South Korea.
Earlier on Monday, an unnamed South Korean military official told Yonhap news agency that “the US Army has begun the process to dispatch a squadron, which will operate the Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft, to a US unit in Kunsan (274 kilometers south of Seoul).”
The source did not provide exact details, but noted that the reinforcement of the US air base at Gunsan, home to the Air Force’s 8th Fighter Wing, is being discussed
The official noted that the Gray Eagle system could obliterate Pyongyang’s critical military infrastructure north of the demarcation line between the two Koreas, including North Korea’s operational command, if all-out war was to break out on the Peninsula.
The drone, developed by General Atomics, can be armed with four AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles or four GPS-aided GBU-44/B Viper Strike glide bombs, which can be used for precision strikes. It can operate for approximately 36 hours at altitudes up to 7,600 meters with a range of 400 kilometers.
According to the Washington Post, the drone has already flown combat missions in Iraq as part of the US-led coalition’s campaign against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). One Gray Eagle was lost in action in Iraq last year, and another three crashed in Afghanistan.
Read more: https://www.rt.com/news/380468-grey-eagle-aircraft-deployment-south-korea/