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Deploying unmanned spy drones top priority for Army
SEOUL, Sept. 26 (Yonhap) -- Deploying unmanned surveillance aircraft is the most important task among the Army's armament plans to better monitor North Korea's military activities, according to a lawmaker on Monday.

   It was the second time that the Army placed the deployment of spy drones at the top of its annual arms procurement projects, said Rep. Song Young-sun of the minor opposition Future Hope Alliance, citing a report she obtained from the Army.


Other key procurement projects included a planned purchase of attack helicopters, deployment of more K-2 main battle tanks and a new multiple-launch rocket system, Song said.

   The lawmaker didn't say what types of unmanned spy aircraft the Army wants to deploy. Army officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

   Tensions on the Korean Peninsula remain high following the North's two deadly attacks last year that prompted Seoul to vow to unleash a tougher retaliation if Pyongyang provokes again.

   South Korea's military is heavily relying on U.S. airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to watch over North Korea. Some 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in the South, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.

   Separately, Seoul asked Washington last year to sell it U.S.-made RQ-4 Global Hawk spy planes and is waiting to receive final approval for the planned purchase from the U.S. Defense Department.

   The South's Air Force had originally planned to introduce the Global Hawk by 2015 but decided to speed up the deployment of the world's most advanced reconnaissance planes to strengthen its own intelligence abilities in the wake of the North's attacks last year, a military source said.