Northrop Grumman eyes South Korean JSTARS-K requirement

JSTARS-K concept
JSTARS-K concept

Northrop Grumman has signed a raft of agreements with South Korean companies Huneed and LIG Nex1 to pursue a Republic of Korea Air Force’s (RoKAF’s) requirement for the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System-Korea (JSTARS-K).

Northrop said in a statement that the JSTARS-K system will be based on the Gulfstream G550 business jet and will exploit its experience in the battle management command-and-control (BMC2) domain. The company also noted that it will lead the effort as prime systems integrator, although it emphasized that its partnership with local companies will ensure interoperability with other platforms and systems used by the RoKAF.

Raytheon Technologies is also competing for the same programme and is partnering with Bombardier and Korean Air to push is Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance-Korea (ISTAR-K) platform using a modified Bombardier Global 6500 business jet.

South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) stated in its 2019-2023 Mid-Term Defense Plan that the country is seeking between four and eight ISTAR/JSTARS aircraft under a 2 trillion won (US$1.71 billion) effort, with delivery to commence from 2023 to support the planned transfer of wartime control of South Korean troops to Seoul.

Meanwhile, the country is also enhancing its ability to monitor North Korea through the second Baekdu ISR aircraft development programme with incumbent supplier Korean Air understood to be the only company bidding. It earlier delivered two Dassault Falcon 2000S-based Baekdu ISR platforms to RoKAF, which have since entered operational service.

The second Baekdu programme is understood to comprise up four aircraft that will be developed from 2022 to 2026 at a cost of approximately 870 billion won (US$742 million).

by Jr Ng