The US has urged South Korea to procure intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) weapons systems to ensure stability on the Korean Peninsula, at the 2009 Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition.

USAF deputy undersecretary Bruce S Lemkin was quoted by Korea Times as saying that the Korean Air Force would see an increase in its air power capability by introducing advanced ISR systems.

The ISR systems includes the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and the stealthy F-35 Lightning II fighter jet equipped with network-centric digital command-control systems, Lemkin added.

“Global Hawk offers very valuable and significant capability,” he said.

The UAV can survey vast areas with near pinpoint accuracy from as high as 65,000ft for up to 35 hours and is valued at $45m to $60m each.

The US Government continues to discuss the sale of the UAV to South Korea and other allied nations.

Korea intended to buy four Global Hawks by 2011 to build independent ISR capabilities and takeover wartime operational control from the US in 2012, Korea Times reports.

The schedule, however, has been delayed due to budget constraints and the restriction on overseas sales of the aircraft under the missile technology control regime (MTCR).

The MTCR is a voluntary association of countries which aims at non-proliferation of ballistic missiles and other systems that could be used for chemical, biological and nuclear attacks.