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Deployment of Global Hawk carried out behind closed doors

Deployment of Global Hawk carried out behind closed doors

Posted October. 20, 2020 07:40,   

Updated October. 20, 2020 07:40


It has become belatedly known that the South Korean military decided to give the high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (HUAV) brought in the nickname Global Hawk (RQ-4), the same nickname used by the U.S. armed forces. Normally, weapons imported from the U.S. were given their own South Korean nicknames in order to symbolize our military operational capabilities, such as countering threats from North Korea. Some point out that the South Korean military not only did not give the newly introduced weapon a new South Korea nickname but also did not make it public since North Korea is sensitive to South Korea’s deployment of strategic assets.

According to government sources on Monday, the military chose the nickname Global Hawk through a committee in May and announced the decision internally via official document in June. The military held a public contest to create a nickname for the new weapon since early this year but decided to use the same nickname used by the U.S. armed forces. “We could not find a better nickname than Global Hawk through the contest,” a military official said.

Earlier in December last year, the military caused controversy by nicknaming the F-35A stealth fighter “Freedom Knight” and not disclosing it. Many pointed out that the military should have disclosed the nickname or held a naming ceremony as it has done every time there was a deployment of a new fighter jet since it confirmed the nickname through official procedures. Back in 2005, the military unveiled the nickname of F-15K fighter jets “Slam Eagle” through an official naming ceremony.

The entire deployment process of Global Hawk, whose delivery of units 1 to 4 was completed last month, was behind closed doors. The deployment of the second and the third units was made public by U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris when he posted a photo on his Twitter account in April. The introduction of the fourth unit was known during a parliamentary inspection of the government and state agencies.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com