- Feb 16, 2009
The first early warning and control aircraft, which will significantly bolster South Korea's reconnaissance capabilities, arrived at an Air Force base in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, Monday.
Developed by the U.S. defense giant Boeing, the E-737 Peace Eye left its Seattle factory last Saturday after having finished test flights and other technical examinations, officials at a state military acquisition agency said.
The high-tech aircraft, dubbed an "airborne command post," will be delivered to the Korean Air Force in September after additional testing to check whether it can adapt to operational environments of the peninsula, officials said.
Seoul signed a $1.6 billion contract with Boeing in November 2006 to introduce four Peace Eye aircraft by 2012. Boeing's services under the contract also include flight and mission crew training, and aircraft and system modification support.
Three other aircraft are currently being assembled by Korea Aerospace Industries in Sacheon, Korea, and will be delivered by 2012.
The Peace Eye is expected to play a significant role in South Korea's intelligence and reconnaissance activities, particularly at a time it is preparing to retrieve wartime operational control from Washington in December 2015.