The South Korea Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) approved a project to secure advanced Baekdu reconnaissance aircraft. The plan will be pushed for between 2021 and 2026 with 870 billion won. Equipped with a remote control and signaling system, the Baekdu spy planes are supposed to carry out missions to gather signal intelligence from North Korea. Currently, the military operates six units and seeks to replace four of them with advanced ones. After buying platforms from overseas, DAPA will equip them with indigenous systems. The upgraded units are expected to improve South Korea SIGINT capabilities.
The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) currently operates four Raytheon Hawker 800XP aircraft-based Baekdu SIGINT planes bought in 2000. Equipped with a remote control and signaling system, the Baekdu plane flies near the border with North Korea to gather signal intelligence. The acquisition of upgraded Baekdu planes was proposed last year after North Korea conducted its second underground nuclear test in 2000. Fitted with more advanced signal and communications intelligence equipment, the new Baekdu would be able to detect and gather signals from missile and nuclear sites in the North around the clock.
Modified Dassault Falcon 2000S was selected as ROKAF’s next-gen Baekdu generation intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft. Seoul has selected the Dassault Falcon 2000S as its next. DAPA was unable to provide details of exactly how the aircraft will be equipped for the South Korean ISR mission, but said the aircraft would be used mainly to monitor North Korea. DAPA was also unable to confirm the contractor for the ISR package. The Dassault Falcon 2000 is a French business jet and a member of Dassault Aviation’s Falcon business jet line, and is a twin-engine, slightly smaller development of the Falcon 900 trijet, with transcontinental range.