For Northrop Grumman, engineering work on South Korea’s program will be largely limited to replacing obsolescent parts in the ground equipment. Under offset contracts, local suppliers will make wiring harnesses and machined parts for all Global Hawks, not just South Korea’s. The government will nominate the suppliers, presumably with an eye on developing local industrial capability, but Northrop Grumman says they will have to meet expectations for price and quality.
Probably more important to South Korea will be technology transfer from Northrop Grumman. That will include training and modeling techniques for simulations as well as advice on airworthiness certification of unmanned aircraft. That will be particularly relevant to the development of the propeller-driven MUAV and its proposed high-altitude derivative. Little information on development of the indigenous aircraft has been available, but the program has been troubled. The MUAV airframe is adaptable to jet propulsion for operation closer to the Global Hawk’s altitude above 60,000 ft. (18,200 meters).