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S. Korea, U.S. upgrading combined air operations command center

2016/03/09 11:07

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States are upgrading their command center for combined air operations in a bid to intensify information sharing on North Korea, a military official said Wednesday.

The overhaul of the Korean Air and Space Operations Center (KAOC) that kicked off last year will take several years to finish, the official said, asking not to be named.

"Currently, it is in the initial stages and redesign is underway," he noted.

The KAOC, at the United States Force Korea's Osan Air Base, commands and controls the allies' joint air and space operations at wartime and is also in charge of directing missile operations by all branches of the military.

In peacetime, the center serves as an air control tower for military aircraft.

The current KAOC, built in 1983, has become outdated with time and does not have up-to-date technologies to control cutting-edge weapon systems, according to some military sources.

"The update will enable the militaries of South Korea and the U.S. to have the closest information sharing system among any alliance in the world," the military official said.

Separately, the countries also plan to link the information management system of the U.S.-made Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft, which Seoul is scheduled to introduce in the next few years, with that of the U.S. military's U-2 ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft.

Such measures reflect the allies' efforts to heighten intelligence sharing on North Korea's military threats, especially after the country's fourth nuclear test in January.

pbr@yna.co.kr

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